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Horticulture Increasingly Important For NZ

The latest facts and figures on New Zealand’s horticulture industry, revealed in HortResearch’s annual publication, show that annual horticultural exports have increased to $2.0 billion over the past 20 years.

Export returns have increased in value over those in 2000 across all sectors of the fruit and vegetable industry, except for fresh apples, whose value fell 16 percent reflecting the decline in production for the season.

Kiwifruit and apples represented 30 percent and 17 percent, respectively, of our horticultural exports, followed by fresh vegetables (13 percent), processed/frozen vegetables (13 percent) and wine (10 percent). New Zealand is the second largest exporter of apples behind Belgium, and the second largest producer of kiwifruit, after Italy.

Japan is by far our largest export market for horticultural produce, buying $457m worth in 2001 across a diverse range of products. Britain is our largest overseas market for wine, with $93m being spent there on NZ wine imports. Japan is the dominant market for fresh flowers.

Horticulture Facts and Figures 2001 published by crown research institute HortResearch provides detailed information on domestic and export growth for each sector and provides a breakdown of the nutritional value of some fruits and vegetables.

Organic production continues to emerge but remains a minor component of the industry. Organic exports exceeded $70 million with kiwifruit, processed vegetables and pipfruit prominent among these. About three percent of horticultural exports are organically produced.

HortResearch’s CEO, Dr Ian Warrington, said that horticulture is vital for the well being of New Zealanders - for employment, regional development, health and prosperity. “Vineyards and orchards are also attracting tourists,” he said.

Martech Consulting Group compiled the data for the booklet.


Media release
21 February 2002

Celebrating $2b Of Horticultural Exports

Underpinning New Zealand’s $2b annual horticultural export milestone is Government’s significant investment ($35m in 2001) in research and development carried out by Crown Research Institute, HortResearch.

Strong investment from industry has allowed the fundamental science discoveries to be applied to the benefit of the horticultural sector.

HortResearch, since its inception ten years ago, has developed new cultivars, new production methods that reduce pesticide use, intensive growing methods, postharvest management systems and new technologies, all of which keep overseas customers interested in products exported from New Zealand that are produced to standards demanded by key markets.

Staff at HortResearch have bred many new cultivars, such as ZESPRI™ GOLD kiwifruit and Pacific Rose™ and Pacific Queen™ apples. They have also provided a strong role in the development of other internationally acclaimed cultivars such as Royal Gala and Braeburn apples. Other significant work is being carried out on blueberries, stonefruit and avocados to improve their export potential. Our geneticists have also discovered the secret of producing seedless fruit.

HortResearch has played a critical role in the drive to reduce dependence on synthetic chemicals for disease and pest control. The emergence of KiwiGreen as a minimum pesticide use programme for kiwifruit, integrated fruit production systems for apples, and the SummerGreen programme for crops such as peaches and apricots have all been strongly underpinned by knowledge and skills from HortResearch’s scientific and technical staff.

Examples of significant recent discoveries for pest and disease management include a biological control for botrytis in grapes and the development of a pheromone to lure the painted apple moth.

Over the past decade, attention has also been given to enhancing the options available to growers wishing to use organic production systems, especially in apples and kiwifruit. Although currently only three percent of all horticultural exports, organic crops continue to expand as a specialised sector.

On the genetic front, a DNA fingerprint database has been created so producers can protect their cultivars from being grown elsewhere without their consent. HortResearch is offering this technology to local and overseas apple growers.

A special challenge for New Zealand is to deliver premium quality produce to distant markets and this requires special attention to transport, storage and handling protocols. Considerable success has been achieved in developing sophisticated storage conditions that allow our produce to be managed well beyond its harvest dates and retain colour, flavour and texture.

HortResearch is based in 10 locations throughout New Zealand and has more than 500 staff. The orchards, in the main fruit-growing districts, act as massive outdoor laboratories so research can be carried out under realistic climatic and commercial conditions.


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