Northland Fieldays bittersweet
08 March 2023, NZ: Growers visiting the horticulture industry stand at the Northland Fieldays last week reflected on Cyclone Gabrielle and the future of the industry.
Horticulture New Zealand, in collaboration with the Northern Wairoa Vegetable Growers’ Association and Vegetables New Zealand Inc, put together the stand to connect with growers and the public at this challenging time.
“There is no doubt that this cyclone has knocked the industry around and there are plenty of battle wounds that will take some time to heal,” says Kate Longman, HortNZ Engagement and Extension Manager. “At the stand, we provided reassurance that we are working with MPI and the local Rural Support Trust to support growers through the recovery.
“Several kumara growers are pensive about what they will find at harvest. There was frequent mention and concern about those who rely on the sector for employment, and whether this workforce will be lost for future seasons.
“The avocado growers we met mentioned that the cyclone’s timing, on the back of poor returns in previous years, has been hard. The situation is a cause for considering how they can further optimise value from production and reduce risk. Several people shared their ambition to thrive in subtropical horticulture, making the most of the Northland climate.”
Kate says building awareness of Fall Armyworm in Northland, catching up with careers teachers and their students, and promoting the Aotearoa Horticulture Action Plan were also part of the presence at the Fieldays stand.
HortNZ would like to acknowledge T&G Global for kindly donating fruit to give away. We are sure this contributed to the stand winning the Best Indoor Site award.
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