Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalHorticulture’s Potential To Help New Zealand Respond To Climate Change Recognised

Horticulture’s Potential To Help New Zealand Respond To Climate Change Recognised


Horticulture New Zealand is pleased that the Climate
Change Commission has recognised that land use change to
horticulture can help New Zealand respond to climate change,
while at the same time providing people with fresh, healthy
food.

‘We’re pleased that in its final report to
the Government, the Climate Change Commission has increased
its estimate of how much land could be converted to
horticulture, from 2000 hectares a year to 3500 hectares a
year,’ says HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike
Chapman.

‘If horticultural can expand more, it will
reduce some of the emission reductions required by other
parts of the primary sector, and also reduce reliance on
forestry offset, which the report acknowledges, ultimately
passes the responsibility for achieving reductions to future
generations.

‘The report recognises that in order
for horticulture to achieve its full potential, investment
will be needed to remove barriers such as water availability
and access to labour.’

Mike says the New Zealand
horticulture industry is already one of the most efficient
in the world.

‘Horticulture contributes less than 1%
of New Zealand’s agricultural emissions. Nevertheless, the
industry is committed to working with the Government to
enable growers to demonstrate through integrated farm plans,
that they are taking action to reduce emissions.

‘In
some areas, such as covered crops, our industry has its
challenges. Covered crop growers across the country are
putting in place measures to reduce their energy demand.
However, they also need advances in technology and
Government support to transition to greenhouse heating
methods that do not rely on fossil fuels.

‘We are
reassured that the report acknowledges there is the need for
a comprehensive energy strategy.’

Mike says he would
like the Government to view horticulture more holistically
and bring all the policy changes together, to iron out the
contradictions.

‘On one hand, we are being told that
horticulture should grow considerably to help New Zealand
respond to climate change. But on the other hand, there’s
not been enough labour this season, and there’s still no
National Policy Statement on Highly Productive Land or
National Direction for Vegetable Growing. Both of these
directives would help ensure that elite soils around the
country were retained for growing vegetables and fruit, and
not
houses.’

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