• NZ needs more horticulture professionals

    TRAINING NEEDED: Massey University Professor Peter Kemp says NZ's horticulture industry is desperate for more qualified professionals.The horticulture industry earns more than five times the export dollars per hecare than dairying with 123,000 hectares resulting in over $3.5 billion in exports. In comparison 11 million hectares of pasture is used to produce the almost $20 billion in exports from our pastoral livestock industries.

    Horticulture is already one of our bigger industries with products going to 120 countries and employing 50,000 people. It has huge potential for growth as the middle income earners of Asian countries increase.

    Horticulture does not require as much land as pastoral industries or forestry to continue its growth.

    Not all agricultural land is suitable for horticulture but the expansion of the industry is not as land limited as the dairy industry, especially as irrigation becomes more widely available.

    The aspiration to ramp up horticulture exports is already there. Horticulture New Zealand, for example, has a target of a $10 billion industry by 2020. To achieve this growth is not just about growing more fruit and vegetables. It is about high quality fresh and processed products that attract premium prices. Products as diverse as wine, kiwifruit, onions and snap frozen vegetables highlight the level of innovation and science already present in New Zealand horticulture.

    To continue to grow, the industry needs more university qualified professionals able to provide the research, advice, management and leadership. There is a big shortage of suitably qualified professionals, the government says 15,000 more qualified workers will be needed by 2025. This problem is a classic case of the public perception not picking up on the highly paid exciting careers available in professions that are not regularly portrayed in the media.

    Read more at: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farm...-professionals
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