New Zealand horticulture had another record-breaking year in 2017, when it was valued at $8.8 billion, up $100 million from 2016, and exported produce valued close to $5.12 billion, up $14 million.
According to the latest Fresh Facts, an industry annual published by Plant & Food Research, horticultural produce accounted for 10.3% of New Zealand’s merchandise export income in the year to June 2017.
The growth was driven by increases in the export values of fresh and processed fruit (excluding wine), from $2.78 billion to $2.82 billion, and fresh and processed vegetables, from $0.61 billion to 0.62 billion.
Kiwifruit continued to be the nation’s top horticultural export at $1.66 billion, accounting for 33% of the total export value. It was followed by wine at $1.54 billion, 30% of the total export value.
New Zealand horticultural produce was exported to 128 countries, with five markets—Australia, Continental Europe, the USA, Japan and China—taking up more than two-thirds of the total exports. Exports to Asia reached $1.95 billion, twice as much as any other continent/region.
“The success of New Zealand horticulture is built on its well-earned reputation of delivering high quality and premium products to the overseas markets,” says David Hughes, chief executive of Plant & Food Research.
“The horticultural industry must keep up the quality and innovate to offer new products that meet international market needs in order to secure our position.
“Adopting new technologies and best practices to minimise environmental and social impact of the production process will further strengthen our clean, green image in the global marketplace.”
Mike Chapman, Chief Executive of Horticulture New Zealand, said his organisation is confident the industry will meet the $10 billion by 2020 target “as long as we are committed to listening to local and overseas consumers and offering products they want and desire.”
Produce from the New Zealand horticultural sector exceeded $8.8 billion in the year to 30 June 2017.
The total value of horticultural exports was $5.12 billion in 2017, an increase of 91% ($2.7 billion) from 2007.
New Zealand’s biggest horticultural export was kiwifruit, worth $1.66 billion. Other key exports were wine ($1.54 billion), apples ($691 million), and avocado ($147.5 million).
Avocado export demonstrated significant growth from $82 million in 2016 to $147 million in 2017, likely in part to the biennial nature of avocado production. In 2015 avocado export was valued at $115 million.
Exports to five markets: Australia, Continental Europe, the USA, Japan and China accounted for almost $3.5 billion and 67.7% of the total exports.
The diversity of horticultural exports is apparent in the 22 categories exported to Asia, each between $5 million and over $1 billion, and 13 categories to Australia, each between $7 million and over $440 million (fob) value.
More than $200 million worth of natural honey was exported to Asia and Australia.
“It’s unclear why circumstances have changed, but we have responded to the immediate threat by strengthening our border controls.”
BMSB is a household pest as well as a threat to horticulturalists, emitting an unpleasant and long-lasting odour when disturbed.
The Government has said preventing a stink bug invasion is one of its highest priorities.
The magnitude of the threat was spelled out in this statement from Horticulture New Zealand president Julian Raine, which said the bugs would decimate New Zealand’s $5.6bn horticulture industry if they ever made it into the country.
“Not only will these bugs invade your homes and cars, they will have a devastating effect on New Zealand’s food supply for years to come and have the potential to wipe out most of a crop in bad years. This bug is horticulture’s number one concern. And, as horticulture is the fourth largest primary industries exporter, so the effect is far reaching for all New Zealanders.”
The bug will feed on kiwifruit, berry fruit, pipfruit, summer fruit, grapes, avocados and a number of vegetables including tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant,peas, beans, and sweetcorn.
Mr Raine’s media release included YouTube videos (here and here).
He said the industry supports all measures to keep the BMSB out of New Zealand and was encouraged to hear the Biosecurity Minister say “we will shut down the pathways wherever we find them”.
His organisation represents 5,500 growers who employ around 60,000 people and provide New Zealanders with about 1.800 tonnes of fruit and vegetables every day.
Mr Raine said this food supply is at risk from the BMSB which has a host range of about 300 plant species and can mate up to five times a day.
In the United States some farmers have reported crop losses of up to 90 percent.
The damage leaves some fruit and vegetables unable to be sold, either as a fresh product or for processing.
“Once the BMSB is established here, the damage is irreversible, long-term and ongoing,” Mr Raine warned.
“We have had NZIER (New Zealand Institute of Economic Research) do some economic modelling which indicates that at a minimum, real GDP could fall by $3.6 billion by 2038, and horticultural export value could fall by $4.2 billion per annum (both relative to projected ‘business as usual’ figures).
“We cannot let BMSB into New Zealand. We want all New Zealanders to be vigilant in keeping this pest out. We will continue to support all measures to protect our fruit and vegetables from foreign invaders.”
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming a new report showing a 40 per cent growth in horticulture export earnings since 2014.
The strong results are highlighted in Horticulture New Zealand and the New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority’s report New Zealand Horticulture – Barriers to Our Export Trade which is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NZ Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust.
“Horticulture is a star performer of the New Zealand economy with export revenue just under $5 billion, making it one of our most important industries,” says Mr Guy.
“The report highlights that tariffs on exported produce have come down by 22 percent since 2012, which is good news but there is still more to be done. Reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers are a big priority for the Government.
“Horticulture has a goal of being a $10 billion industry by 2020 and they are well on the way. They are now New Zealand’s fourth largest export industry and employ 60,000 people in New Zealand.
“It’s very fitting for this report to be released on the day when Horticulture New Zealand is celebrating 100 years of representing growers, starting as the New Zealand Fruitgrowers Federation in 1916.
This week the Government hopes the Horticulture Export Authority Amendment Bill will pass it’s final reading in Parliament, providing a framework for producers and exporters to collaborate in export marketing their products.”
The Executive Summary of the report is available on the Horticulture Export Authority website.
This post has been contributed by JOHN LANCASHIRE, a former President of the NZ Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science –
It’s “unbelievable and unexpected” was the comment made by Peter Silcock , Horticulture New Zealand’s CEO, on hearing of the third detection of fruit fly in this country in less than two years.
Prior to these most recent occurrences it had been 16 years since the last known incursion.
It may well be unbelievable considering the huge amount of resource being put into biosecurity and the prevention of pest and weed incursions, but unexpected, certainly not. Most of our many serious pest incursions come from Australia, either carried by humans or occasionally blown over. The former comes via formal tourist and visitor routes, typically through airports or informal arrivals via private yachts which have been suggested as a possible source of the recent fruit fly incursion near Whangarei. Indeed, the present massive epidemic of Queensland fruit fly in Australia made such an incursion almost inevitable.