Horticulture accounted for $1,700 Million in exports, and $1,100 million domestic sales last year

7 August 2000

New Zealand's horticulture industry made very significant growth in 1999 and contributed 7.7 percent of the country's exported primary produce. The domestic market accounts for an estimated further $1,100 Million in sales, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Horticulture Monitoring Report released today.

In 1980 less than $200 million was earned from horticulture exports, rising through the1980s to reach more than $1,000 million in 1990. This continued to rise through the 1990s and reached 1,700 million in 1999.

Of the 1999 total, fresh fruit exports were $1,051 million, processed fruit $59 million, fresh vegetables $232 million, processed vegetables $171 million, wine $126 million; floriculture $46 million and other exports (plants, seed etc) $53 million. These wide ranges of horticulture products were exported to 110 countries.

Recent industry studies predict a doubling of export returns by 2010. These projections also indicate 80 percent of the increase will come from kiwifruit, pipfruit and wine.

Farm monitoring is a process whereby MAF monitors the production, finance, trends, issues and sector concerns on New Zealand farms. The expectations and intentions of farmers, and those servicing the sector are analysed and presented as a model farm. The report highlights the 1999/2000 season and forecasts the 2000/20001 season. The views reflect those of the sector, and not necessarily those of the MAF.

There are nine farm monitoring reports this year. Five of these are sector specific (deer, sheep and beef, dairying, arable, and horticulture). Four are regional (South, Central South, North and Central North).

The Horticulture report looks at kiwifruit, Nelson and Hawke's Bay pipfruit, commercial vegetable growing, Lower North Island processed and fresh vegetables, Canterbury processed and fresh vegetables, as well as floriculture, viticulture, summerfruit, export berryfruit, and apiculture.

A significant feature of the horticulture industry is its diversity and its continued development of new products and cultivars. This diversity has allowed the industry to develop throughout the country, contributing to all regional economies to varying degrees.

Innovation through implementation of new technology, new crops and varieties, is also identified by all sectors as a key to the current and future positions of the various sectors. The new kiwifruit and pipfruit varieties are only two of many such examples of innovation which have been international leaders.

This year's Monitoring Report shows some marked contrasts across the various sectors. Except for pipfruit and summerfruit sectors, growers and industry have had good to very good returns during the 1999/2000 season. Weather conditions throughout the country have contributed significantly to this outcome, and product prices have been firm.

All sectors identified the low New Zealand dollar as being significant to their performance. All reported increased competition from countries that are not only expanding their production, but are often enjoying government support systems, and easier access to many markets.

Producer board reforms have been a hotly debated and contentious issue for the sectors involved. For the kiwifruit sectors it has been a fairly smooth process, but for pipfruit views are divergent.

The discovery of varroa bee mite has again highlighted the importance the horticulture sector places on biosecurity issues. While this incursion will significantly affect the apiculture sector, the importance of bees for efficient pollination of horticulture crops is well recognised by producers. All horticulture sectors identify market access as being extremely important in maintaining growth for the industry. Biosecurity features in most market access negotiations.

MAF Farm Monitoring Reports can be accessed from the MAF website.

For further information contact:

Chris Ward, Senior policy Analyst, Domestic Policy, MAF. Telephone: 04-474-4168

To purchase reports contact:

Tamara Finlay, MAF Information Bureau, Telephone: 04-474-4100 Ext: 8436

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