Wednesday, 09 November 2016 12:13

Fresh vegetable industry signs biosecurity agreement

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Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy (pictured) says it’s great to have Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated signed up. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy (pictured) says it’s great to have Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated signed up.

Vegetables NZ yesterday signed an agreement with Government to better protect the fresh vegetable growers it represents in managing biosecurity procedures.

Vegetables NZ Inc is the governing body representing 900 commercial growers who produce more than 50 crops, with a farm gate value of over $390 million per annum, to supply the increasing demands of sophisticated customers both in New Zealand and in our export markets.

Vegetables NZ Inc joins 12 other primary sector industry groups that have joined with the government in the GIA partnership.

"It is paramount that the continued supply of fresh, high-quality, healthy vegetables for our domestic and export consumers are not put at risk by a biosecurity pest or virus incursion," says Andre de Bruin, chairman of Vegetables NZ Inc.

"Becoming a partner to the GIA Deed benefits our growers by giving us a seat at the decision-making table with government and other primary sector groups affected by similar biosecurity threats. It gives our growers a greater say in preparing for and managing biosecurity risks specific to our industry.”

With the increased number of imports, containers and tourists, the potential risk for a foreign pest or disease to establish itself in New Zealand is increasing all the time.

"The best way to protect New Zealand’s horticulture industry is through world-class border security, preparation for possible incursions, and a rapid response programme when unwanted pests or diseases do arrive, to contain, control, and eradicate these threats quickly and effectively," says de Bruin.

GIA secretariat manager Steve Rich says he is pleased the fresh vegetable sector has recognised the benefits of joining with other industry groups and government to jointly manage biosecurity readiness and response to deliver better outcomes.

"With 12 industry groups having now signed a partnership agreement with MPI, the partnership numbers have more than doubled in size since this time last year. GIA is moving from strength to strength and beginning to demonstrate the pan-sector benefits offered by the partnership, says Rich.

"Vegetables NZ Inc joining GIA will really strengthen the partnership and illustrates how it is prepared to take responsibility for managing biosecurity risks within their sector. On behalf of the Deed Governance Group, we commend this industry group on taking this bold step and welcome them to the GIA partnership.”

Vegetables NZ Inc. represents the interests of commercial growers of all fresh vegetable crops (other than potatoes, onions, tomatoes, asparagus, and buttercup squash).

It is the largest of the vegetable product groups, and with such a wide range of crops, it has the task of ensuring that the interests of all its member growers are appropriately represented.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by representatives from Vegetables NZ Inc and government at Parliament, with Martyn Dunne, chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew in attendance.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says it’s great to have Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated signed up and working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other industry partners.

“It means we can work together on managing and responding to the most important biosecurity risks,” says Guy.

“Biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister and as the recent Biosecurity 2025 consultation document outlines, it is a shared responsibility requiring everyone’s input and expertise.”

Vegetables New Zealand represents all fresh vegetable crops other than potatoes, onions, tomatoes, asparagus, and buttercup squash. It represents over 900 growers who produce over 50 crops with a farm gate value of $390 million per annum.

They join TomatoesNZ, Kiwifruit Vine Health, Pipfruit New Zealand, New Zealand Pork, New Zealand Equine Health Association, Onions New Zealand, the Forestry Owners Association, The New Zealand Avocado Growers’ Association, New Zealand Citrus Growers Incorporated and the Ministry for Primary Industries under GIA.

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