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Innovation vital to success of horticulture

Innovation vital to success of horticulture

Innovation will be key to the on-going success of the horticulture industry, says Dr Bruce Campbell, recipient of the 2017 Horticulture New Zealand Industry Service Award.

Dr Campbell, Chief Operating Officer of Plant & Food Research, was recognised with the Award at this week’s Horticulture New Zealand conference, where he issued a challenge for the industry to continue building science and innovation into their strategies to meet the demands of the future.

“Science and innovation are essential if New Zealand horticulture is to continue delivering healthy food for a growing global population in a fast moving world,” says Dr Campbell.

“We have a reputation for exciting, great tasting fruits and vegetables, produced in an environmentally sustainable manner. This has allowed us to move beyond commodity trading to commanding a value premium from the most discerning of global consumers. Science and innovation is the only way we can continue to deliver to this market and grow New Zealand food exports into the future as the world speeds up and we face increasing global challenges in food production.”

Dr Campbell says he is privileged to have worked with highly talented people in science and the industry who are passionate about creating a better and healthier world from horticulture. The industry should continue to encourage and build on this legacy.

“The horticulture industry has benefitted from true Kiwi ingenuity, from people like Hayward Wright, the forefather of the kiwifruit industry, through to the innovative growers and marketers we have today. It is vital we encourage more young people into the industry, at all points along the value chain, so horticulture can continue to evolve and grow into the future.”

The Horticulture New Zealand Industry Service Award recognises people with a long and dedicated service for the betterment of the horticulture industry. Dr Campbell, in his role as Chief Operating Officer of Plant & Food Research, has been a leader in driving scientific innovation for the horticulture and food industries. This has supported the growth of the horticulture industry and grown New Zealand’s premium position in the marketplace, reflected in the doubling of horticultural exports since 2005.

Dr Campbell is a strong proponent of encouraging new talent into science and the wider food industry, leading the Institute’s Summer Studentship programme, which has seen more than 200 undergraduate students over nine years spend a summer working as interns at the organisation. He also established scholarships to encourage closer involvement of young Māori in science, and championed the formation of Joint Graduate Schools with the University of Auckland and Massey University.


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