A HortNZ release said it had played a key role in forging the official partnership, known as government industry agreements (GIA), after more than eight years of discussion, negotiation, submissions and reviews.
“At times this has been a very difficult process for both industry and government,” HortNZ president Julian Raine said.
“But in the end, everyone appreciates we can’t continue as we are. We need better biosecurity and by working together we think we have a better chance of achieving that.”
The deal means that commercial fruit and vegetable growers can contribute as equal partners and decision-makers on biosecurity, which can have a huge impact on their businesses. This is done by working with government agencies to establish what threats are present and how they can be dealt with before they arrive.
“The cost of a biosecurity pest or disease incursion can run into $100s of millions, it closes down overseas markets, hugely increases production costs and in some cases, destroys our ability to grow crops,” Raine said.
“There is a catch, in that industry will now be expected to pay its share of the cost of this additional management. Some of our affiliated Product Groups will agree, some won’t. It is a decision that each of them will need discuss with their growers.”
“The main thing is there is now the opportunity to get a seat at the decision-making table and some parts of horticulture have been calling for this for a long time.”