Pres­i­dent’s Word

Time to be­gin a new chap­ter

The Orchardist - - >>contents - Ju­lian Raine is pres­i­dent of Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand.

Ear­lier in the year I in­di­cated to the Hor­ti­cul­ture NZ Board that I would be step­ping down at the end of 2018.

With only a month or so to go to the end of the year my de­par­ture is rapidly ap­proach­ing. It’s time for some­one else to take the lead and for me to farewell the board and my role at Hor­ti­cul­ture NZ.

It’s hard to be­lieve I have been on the board for close on seven and half years with five and half of that as pres­i­dent. It has been chal­leng­ing, re­ward­ing and char­ac­ter-build­ing all at the same time.

I leave feel­ing that the or­gan­i­sa­tion is in a bet­ter space now than when I started. I be­lieve it de­liv­ers good value to its levy pay­ing grow­ers. Mike and his team work hard for us in Wellington and the re­gions. We have ex­cel­lent staff who un­der­stand the in­dus­try and its needs. I wish to record my thanks to them for the job they do and the as­sis­tance they have given me over the years.

The pro­file of in­dus­try has been lifted in re­cent years. This has taken con­sid­er­able ef­fort, time and re­sources. We are a well-re­spected or­gan­i­sa­tion and in­dus­try, one of which I am im­mensely proud.

I ac­knowl­edge we still have work to do to tell our story and ex­plain why the hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try is im­por­tant in our com­mu­ni­ties, both lo­cally and na­tion­ally.

In my time I have seen and felt the changes within Govern­ment and their min­istries.This hasn’t hap­pened from a sin­gle mo­ment or as a re­sult of a par­tic­u­lar per­son. This has come about by a col­lec­tive voice and an ef­fort from a large num­ber of peo­ple across the in­dus­try work­ing to­gether over many years. I am proud of the peo­ple who work so hard to rep­re­sent us all. It’s im­por­tant that we con­tinue to be heard but at the same time stay grounded.

Fruit and veg­eta­bles are im­por­tant for our well­be­ing and health. Ev­ery­one has to eat to sur­vive but the pro­duce that we grow has an in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant role to play in the health of our con­sumers. The trust in our pro­duce is sel­dom ques­tioned and stands up to scru­tiny from a num­ber of quar­ters. We should do what­ever it takes to en­sure that this con­tin­ues.

The vi­sion or dream that the Hor­ti­cul­ture NZ board de­vel­oped, Healthy Food For All For­ever, is an in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful state­ment. It’s what gets us out of bed ev­ery day. It per­son­i­fies in five short words what we are all about.

Hor­ti­cul­ture con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength which is very en­cour­ag­ing and sat­is­fy­ing. A num­ber of com­men­ta­tors see the fruit and veg­etable sec­tors as av­enues for fur­ther di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion for our most ver­sa­tile land. Growth needs to be mar­ket-led and not ar­ti­fi­cially forced. New crops will come and go, mar­kets will wax and wane and peo­ple, re­sources and cap­i­tal will all be needed for the in­dus­try to grow.

De­spite all of the pos­i­tives there is still much to do. We face a con­tin­u­ous wave of chal­lenges but that’s just life. I see that biose­cu­rity vig­i­lance and en­vi­ron­men­tal com­pli­ance will be never-end­ing. But if I think be­yond th­ese then I would like to make the fol­low­ing pre­dic­tions;

• Red meat con­sump­tion will de­cline and we will see the

rise and rise of veg­eta­bles in our di­ets.

Ro­bot­ics, drones, ma­chine learn­ing, smart phones and IT will lead to greater ef­fi­cien­cies, higher re­turns and bet­ter crops.

Hor­ti­cul­ture will be­come NZ’s num­ber one ex­port sec­tor at some point.

• The role of su­per­mar­kets in the sup­ply chain will change.

• Food safety and the trust in the food we pro­duce will be

our great­est value-add fea­ture.

99.99 per­cent of NZ’s ru­ral rivers and streams will once again be swimmable. The greater wa­ter qual­ity chal­lenge lies in­side the ur­ban bound­aries.

• More in­vest­ment is needed in com­mu­nity wa­ter

aug­men­ta­tion schemes.

• The ur­ban /ru­ral gap will widen fur­ther, un­for­tu­nately.

Cli­mate change will have un­fore­seen con­se­quences.

Biotech­nol­ogy will dom­i­nate de­sign of fu­ture prod­ucts and sys­tems.

• Gene-edit­ing will even­tu­ally be­come so­cially ac­cept­able.

• The wide use of plas­tics will come back to haunt us.

Peo­ple will al­ways be our great­est as­set - so look af­ter them!

Only time will tell as to whether th­ese pre­dic­tions be­come true or not.This is the list I have been us­ing when pre­sent­ing to groups within the ru­ral sec­tor for the past cou­ple of years so it’s not new and some peo­ple will recog­nise it from the Hor­ti­cul­ture Leader cour­ses and Kel­logg Ru­ral Lead­er­ship cour­ses.

So keep up the great work that each and ev­ery one of you is in­volved in. It’s a won­der­ful in­dus­try to be part of and you

get out of it what you put in to it.

Hor­ti­cul­ture has been good to me over the past 35 years and it’s been great to give some­thing back. The time is right to turn the page and start a new chap­ter.

“We face a con­tin­u­ous wave of chal­lenges but that’s just life.”

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