In what Horticulture NZ described as the most bizarre and interrupted year, the value of horticulture in Aotearoa topped $6.73bn.
In its recently released annual report for the year to March 2021, the association’s president, Barry O’Neil, said some of the causes of the disruption, like the Covid-19 pandemic, extreme weather and shipping congestion, were beyond HortNZ’s control.
“But others should have been under our control if the government supported our need to access Pacific seasonal labour to ensure our crops are picked and packed,” O’Neil said.
“I also recognise the impacts and pressures that individual growers have faced over these trying times. We have all been frustrated when we have seen logical approaches to fix the situation not supported by the government.”
Despite the challenges, the value of the sector grew to $6.73bn in the year to March 2021, up 5.3% on the previous 12 months, with the total value of exports reaching $4.55bn, up 8.3%.
Kiwifruit accounted for more than half the value of exports over the period at $2.53bn, followed by apples at $876m and onions at $147m.
HortNZ said the value of horticulture in New Zealand over the past ten years has risen by 107%, with 6000 growers across the country now employing around 60,000 people, harvesting more than 100 types of fruit and vegetables.
Across the world and in New Zealand, demand for fresh, healthy food is growing, due to Covid and increasing awareness of the importance of nutritious food as well as increasing consciousness about how food is grown and supplied.
You can view the full report on HortNZ's website.