Meat & Livestock News

Water Concerns Dominate Horticulture Sector Talks

TL;DR: HortNZ discusses water storage and allocation amid El Nino, advocating for policies supporting horticulture’s growth and environmental sustainability.

HortNZ’s grower meetings have sparked intense discussions on water use and storage amidst the dry spell brought on by the El Nino weather pattern.

Nadine Tunley, CEO of HortNZ, emphasises the critical need for robust water strategies. “Our action plan stresses the need for supportive policies on water storage to ensure horticulture’s resilience,” she states.

The call is for collaborative investments in regional water storage to combat climate change effects. Despite horticulture’s efficient water use, the sector demands more reliable water sources to maintain crop quality.

Current water allocation methods, favouring first-come-first-served and ecosystem health, leave horticulture vulnerable. Tunley expresses concerns over these practices, which significantly affect water reliability for crops.

Dialogue with the government has underlined the significance of water and land investment for horticulture’s sustainability. “Without access to water and productive land, growth is stalled,” Tunley adds, noting current policies often don’t align with the sector’s needs.

The push for improved water allocation, investment in storage facilities, and streamlined water consent processes is pivotal. These measures are vital for encouraging investment and enhancing production while benefiting the environment.

The grower meetings also touched on climate adaptation, food security, and supply, reflecting the sector’s broad range of challenges and ambitions for sustainable growth.