There is no single group representing growers in New Zealand.
The interests of commercial vegetable growers are represented by Horticulture New Zealand. This was formed in 2005 with the merger of the NZ Vegetable and Potato Growers Federation and two fruit-grower’s organisations. It provides advocacy for growers on trade and food safety issues, provides advice on safe growing practices, and coordinates marketing promotion and research.
The Nursery and Garden Industry Association represents a number of the nursery producers, as well as garden retailers and suppliers of horticultural materials.
Cut-flower growers do not have a national organisation to represent their interests. Some flower growers for the domestic market belong to regional or product groups.
Research and development
In the 2000s two Crown agencies, Crop and Food Research and HortResearch, were the most important horticultural research institutes in New Zealand. Their work has included investigating pests and diseases of plants, breeding new cultivars, developing new technologies and offering advice to growers. Staff in the horticulture departments of Lincoln and Massey universities have also undertaken research for New Zealand growers.
Weeds, pests and diseases
A biosecurity section of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for preventing the entry or establishment of new weeds, pests and diseases into New Zealand.
Education and employment
In the early 2000s there was a shortage of trained horticultural staff as few students were undertaking tertiary studies in horticulture or plant science. Finding seasonal workers to harvest crops has also been a longstanding problem. A shortage of workers can mean that sectors of the industry fail to compete with overseas growers.
Massey and Lincoln universities have traditionally provided horticultural education, available to post-doctoral levels. Other institutions also provide training in horticulture. In 2007 apprenticeships and work-based horticultural training were coordinated by the New Zealand Horticulture Industry Training Organisation at hundreds of work places throughout the country.