NZ must position itself for “new world order” in global hort trade

A “new world order” is emerging in the global fresh fruit and vegetable trade, according to a recently-released research report. And this will challenge New Zealand’s horticulture sector to position itself to compete and grow in the “export markets of tomorrow”.

In the report, New World Order? – Up-and-Coming Players in the Fresh Produce Trade, global agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says the face of the fresh fruit and vegetable trade is rapidly changing – with new growth markets emerging in Asia and the Middle East and up-and-coming exporting nations, such as Mexico and Peru, rising in prominence.

Implications for New Zealand
Ultimately, the rising value of global food and export demand suggests there will be room for all export players in this ‘new world order’, the report says, but among established exporters, such as New Zealand, this will “require some adjustment and continued investment in the means of production and markets in order to underpin growth and prosperity in years to come”.

In some aspects, it says, lessons can be learned from the success of up-and-coming fruit and vegetable exporters, in particular in investing in infrastructure to unlock the potential of key resources such as irrigation water, and welcoming foreign direct investment from partners with close ties to growth markets.

“This has already begun to take place, with recent investment from strategically-aligned Chinese companies into two of New Zealand’s largest horticulture operations, Turners and Growers and Scales Corporation,” Mr Soccio said.

At the same time, sustained investment in R&D – both at individual business and industry level – continues to be an essential driver of the innovations that set countries apart, both now and into the future, Mr Soccio says.

“It is important for new on-farm/post-harvest technologies to be developed in order to raise the bar beyond the reach of up-and-coming supplier countries. Together with a strong understanding of the needs of consumers and customers in key export markets, this can deliver valuable and sustainable points of difference from which to compete and grow,” he said.

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