Work has picked up again in the horticulture industry, led by a government-enabled action plan developed to support our industry to reach the Fit for a Better World target. That is, to improve grower margins and double the farm gate value of production – from $6 billion to $12 billion by 2030.
The work is government-funded through the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). They have engaged KPMG, who will consult with our industry on the opportunities and challenges.
KPMG and MPI have distilled a lot of feedback to reach five focus areas after working with product groups early on and then, more recently, the governance group:
- Mitigation and adapting to climate change
- Value-add products, services, and markets
- Māori in horticulture
- Resilient cultivars and an innovative science system
- Sector attractiveness and workforce education and training.
Within these areas, a number of topics are captured – water availability and storage, improving land use, access to new high-value markets, increasing access to capital, adopting new cultivar development technology, improved labor certainty, and so on.
In the current operating environment, it is tempting to focus on the biggest pain point – labor – and not pay enough attention to the other factors that will make our industry a success. It is also human nature to want to get going on everything at once, even though that is unaffordable as well as unsustainable – sustainable being a word that comes up a lot in conversations about our industry within the food and fiber sector.
Our industry holds the key to so many things that this country wants to achieve, foremost of which is reducing environmental impact while increasing food production and grower and farmer returns and margins.
We need to get on the same page
The aim of this action plan is to focus on a few key critical areas which are important to everybody, growers, product groups, research and development agencies, and central and local government. An important message is that the action plan cannot be all things to all people, but it can facilitate unification through the agreed focus areas and a staged plan that will guide priorities and investment over the next eight years.
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