Tuesday, 23 March 2021 14:55

Growers want the tools

Written by  Peter Burke
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor. Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the promotion of fruit and vegetables is about healthy food and food security.

Speaking at the March launch of the United Nations International Year of Fruit and Vegetables held at Parliament, he says Covid has shown us the priorities of life.

“Whether it was the line up outside the supermarkets or going to the cupboard and getting exactly what we wanted every day, suddenly we realised the importance of food and our access to it.”

O’Connor’s other key message was a focus on the amount of food in the world that is wasted; estimates vary, but it’s up to a third in some places. He says if less food was wasted, there’d be a significant reduction of greenhouse gases.

“We can be the best growers and farmers for the world and its through sophisticated organisations like Plant and Food, and innovation and energy from the growers across our country, that we can develop the cultivars that are not only suited to NZ but to others,” he says.

O’Connor recognised the hard times that many growers are going through at the moment to get their crops picked, but says he is hopeful the country will get through this.

Meanwhile, HortNZ says often forgotten is the vital role growers play in ensuring fresh fruit and vegetables are on the table.

Chief executive Mike Chapman says Covid has shown NZ that it cannot rely on imports and has highlighted how lucky the country is that it can grow most of its own food.

“We need to make sure that we protect this ability,” he says.

“But at the same time, fruit and vegetable growers are being asked to meet increasingly strict objectives for climate change and compliance in general, without the important role of feeding people being factored in. If NZ is to meet its climate change and economic goals, growers and farmers need to be empowered to adapt and reduce emissions.”

Chapman says that if NZ growers are given the tools, incentives and time, they could lead the world in climate change adaption and global food production.  He notes that this will require significant research and development to find the tools and techniques needed to make a difference.

More like this

Worker shortage warning

A Southland dairy industry leader says the Government's response to worker shortages in the dairy industry is a "cop out".

Zespri celebrates in style

The contribution of NZ's kiwifruit industry came in for some high praise at a special function at Parliament, just before the latest Covid lockdowns.


Marketing blast for Rockit

Gaining momentum from the global roll-out of its new brand in July, NZ fruit company Rockit has recently launched its…

Zespri celebrates in style

The contribution of NZ's kiwifruit industry came in for some high praise at a special function at Parliament, just before…

Keeping NZ kids healthy!

New Zealand's fresh fruit and vegetable sector has signed a new two-year deal with the Government to continue supplying produce…

Machinery & Products

Smart way to bumper crops

With kiwifruit being the "go to" good food of the 21st century, it was inevitable that orchard prices would skyrocket.

Taking spud harvest to next level

With more than 40 years of two and four-row self-propelled harvester production behind them, the latest Dewulf harvester - imported…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Too many hits?

OPINION: Well-known professional protestor, John Minto has run off at the mouth without checking his facts.

Good question!

A mate of the Hound's thinks it was more than a bit dodgy when DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel…

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter