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Protecting the right to grow food policies welcomed

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15 September 2023, New Zealand: Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) welcomes the National Party’s Primary Sector Growth Plan which includes provisions to make fruit and vegetable growing a permitted activity.

HortNZ General Manager Strategy and Policy, Michelle Sands says it is vital for our country’s food security that fresh fruit and vegetables can be grown and supplied through a network of growing areas all-around the country.

National is promising that under a new National Environmental Standard (NES), fruit and vegetable growers will no longer need a resource consent to produce more food and, crop rotation within catchments will be a permitted activity.

Sands says crop rotation is an area where growers have encountered barriers.

“Vegetable growers rotate crops to preserve soil health and that often means growers have non-contiguous areas of land they own or lease, and they grow on changing land parcels over time. Consumers and growers would benefit if resource consent for these activities was no longer required.

“Currently, there are rules in some regions that restrict crop rotation and prevent vegetable expansion, so growers cannot increase production to keep up with New Zealand’s population growth, these rules add complexity for growers and costs for consumers.

“Most growers are conscious of managing their environmental effects. The sector’s large-scale adoption farm plans support growers to implement the latest research on those practices that manage environmental effects.

“As New Zealand transitions to a lower emission economy, horticultural products will become even more important. Fruit and vegetables are the lowest emissions food product option for New Zealand. As the world moves to reduce emissions, this will create more demand for plant-based foods and New Zealand has a favourable climate and productive land to be able to meet that demand,” said Sands.

Providing for the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables in planning rules will help growers produce more healthy food to feed New Zealanders at a reasonable cost while incorporating best practices to boost our precious soils.  

Also Read: Major decisions related to agriculture under India’s G20 presidency

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