Amazing New Zealand – August 2020

By Jen Scoular

The export of avocados will start in August as global economies, supply chains and consumer confidence remain uncertain.  Our industry is in frequent communication with other sectors as we all put our plans, and backup plans, into place. For someone who likes to have plans in place and measure delivery against plans, this is different, but being more agile is something we are learning to be good at.

I enjoyed the first live streaming of the Women of Influence virtual speaker series recently, with three very successful New Zealanders sharing their stories and talking about their experience under covid. All three talked about the need to be agile, the need to seek alternatives but also the opportunity covid has provided them to think differently about their businesses. An acknowledgement that we need to work and think in different ways when the global environment is so uncertain.

We are strongly supportive of the recently launched Horticulture Strategy, and the workstreams being developed within that. I will note for readers that this strategy has not been launched by Horticulture NZ, but by horticulture sectors across NZ. That’s quite a difference because as an industry led plan, those industry’s doing the leading need to be the ones setting the plan.

I am leading the Horticulture Strategy diversity work stream. Gender diversity fits there but this is also about thought diversity, acknowledging that there is diversity amongst growers and their reasons for being horticulturalists. The data on our industry, our interactions with new growers, our industry survey and a new project on better understanding our growers have all revealed the diversity across our grower base. From growers with 50 trees, to growers with 5,000, from those prioritising the pleasure of working amongst beautiful green leaved trees, which also produce an amazingly healthy product, to those wanting the best return in the shortest time.

The work stream will also acknowledge that the New Zealand story highlights the diverse array of amazing products we grow in New Zealand, from quite small scale heritage tomatoes, to very large scale gold kiwifruit, to boutique wineries or fabulous new varieties of apples. We often show off our beautiful landscapes to the world, but don’t always show the scale of thousands of hectares of horticultural plantings. Growers caring and nurturing their crops, fruit being handpicked, and fruit being managed and harvested using leading edge new technology are all part of our diverse horticulture story in New Zealand.

We strongly believe in the future of horticulture. We will drive a strategy that ensures a sustainable future, one that cares for our land, our people and our communities, and the whole of New Zealand will benefit from that.

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