05 May 2023, NZ: The New Zealand horticulture industry is welcoming the early implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom (UK), saying that for fruit and vegetable exporters, the agreement gives hope for the future at a time when the industry is under immense pressure.
‘Growers have been under the pump ever since Covid struck, and rampant cost increases and a succession of adverse weather events have just added to this pressure,’ says HortNZ chief executive, Nadine Tunley.
‘Early adoption of the FTA with the UK provides hope for the future. We thank Government officials in New Zealand and the UK for bringing implementation of the agreement forward, and delivering on Fit for A Better World – a multi-year project to accelerate the New Zealand primary industry’s economic potential.’
Nadine says in the year to 31 March 2022, horticulture exports were $4.6 billion.
“Industry, the Government, Māori and research providers have a plan – the Aotearoa Horticulture Action Plan – to increase the value of the whole industry to $12 billion by 2035. Among many other things, this plan involves eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and developing new markets. That’s why today’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction.’
Onions New Zealand chief executive, James Kuperus says it has been a tough year for onion growers, so once again, today’s news is welcome.
‘Volumes have been down due to challenging growing conditions in key onion growing areas such as Pukekohe and the Hawke’s Bay. While our growers are a hardy bunch, they need as much certainty as possible about export markets, to underpin their considerable investment.
‘We thank officials in New Zealand and the UK for burning the midnight oil in order to support export industries like onions, which play key roles in regional economies across our country.’
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