Meat & Livestock News

New Zealand and US Growers Forge Partnership for Agritech Advancement


  • Leaders from the Western Growers Association in California visited New Zealand to explore advancements in agritech and strengthen collaboration.
  • The partnership focuses on accelerating the adoption of biopesticides and sustainable crop treatments in response to tightening global regulations.
  • The collaboration aims to enhance global food security through shared trials and approvals of environmentally friendly agricultural technologies.

In a significant move towards advancing agricultural technology and sustainability, the heads of the Western Growers Association, a leading produce-growing group from California, have visited New Zealand. Their mission is to gain insights into New Zealand’s agritech sector and foster stronger ties between Kiwi and US growers.

This visit underscores a shared commitment to addressing the challenges of climate change and the need for sustainable farming practices.

The Western Growers Association, which supplies a substantial portion of the United States’ produce, has been collaborating with New Zealand growers for over seven years. This partnership, initiated by a memorandum of understanding signed by AgriTech NZ, aims to share knowledge and accelerate the growth of agritech innovations across both nations. A key focus of this collaboration is the development and adoption of biopesticides, a critical area as the European Union plans to ban nearly half of the pesticides currently in use by 2030.

New Zealand’s agritech sector, particularly known for its Lighter Touch programme, is at the forefront of developing sustainable pest management solutions. This programme, a joint effort funded by the government and the industry, aims to produce safe food while being gentler on the environment.

The collaboration with Western Growers is expected to facilitate global field trials, crucial for the continuous testing and approval of new, sustainable agricultural technologies.

The partnership has identified specific crops for focus, including strawberries, leafy greens, tomatoes, almonds, and table grapes, with an emphasis on placing field trials directly in the hands of growers. This approach leverages growers’ problem-solving capabilities and their openness to adopting new technologies. Moreover, the collaboration addresses shared challenges such as thrip control, which has previously caused significant losses in the industry.

This “vegetable diplomacy” not only aims to streamline the approval process for environmentally friendly crop treatments but also provides New Zealand growers with a powerful ally on the global stage. The union between New Zealand and Californian growers represents a strategic effort to ensure food security and promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices worldwide.