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Green light for Horticulture NZ Concept

Green light for Horticulture NZ Concept

Fruit and vegetable growers have given unanimous support in principle to moves toward the formation of a new horticulture grower body at the Fruitgrowers Federation and Vegetable and Potato Growers Federation (Vegfed) conferences held this week in Auckland.

The proposal developed and presented by the boards is to establish a single horticulture grower body to deal with key industry wide issues such as biosecurity, education and training, compliance costs, trade and market access, labour issues and environmental issues - like resource management plans and water use and availability.

"The horticulture industry has sales of $4 billion including $2.2 billion of exports to markets all around the world, grows 130,000 hectares of crops and is a very significant contributor to regional development and employment. We are known internationally as a innovative supplier of quality products but there are many issues that we need to address if growers we are to remain competitive and the industry is to continue to grow," said Peter Silcock Chief Executive of Fruitgrowers Federation and Vegfed.

"Growers have supported the proposal in principle because they have recognised the need for an empowered and influential organisation that will combine and build on the activities for Fruitgrowers Federation and Vegfed. It is now up to us to further develop the detail.

Conference delegates emphasised to us the importance of further consultation with and the involvement of growers and other industry bodies especially the product specific fruit and vegetables groups in the development of the proposal. That is excellent feedback as we have always recognised that the support of the industry as a whole, not just conference delegates, is going to be vital for the success of the new organisation"

"A group will be established in the next month or so to further consult and develop the detail of the concept so a full proposal can be presented to next year's conferences, said Mr Silcock. While that is some time away there is a lot of consultation and work required to ensure we can move forward with a strong organisation that has the grower support that we need to make it successful in the future.

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