26 Feb 2009

Future lies in new crop varieties, says Horticulture NZ

10:31 am on 26 February 2009

The future for New Zealand horticulture lies in planting new fruit and vegetable varieties that the industry can control, according to the chief executive of the national industry body.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock says growers are becoming more confident they will have a sufficient source of labour under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme which brings in workers from Pacific Islands.

Mr Silcock says there is evidence of growers investing in their businesses by re-planting with new varieties.

He says New Zealand could benefit from getting a premium for those crops, rather than growing what is being produced elsewhere.

A substantial investment is needed in new crops to provide the necessary scale to create a place in global markets, Mr Silcock says, adding that up to 1,000 hectares would need to be planted.