Blossoming against the odds

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

A thriving force in regions like the Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay, the horticulture sector stands as a resilient cornerstone of the country's economic tapestry.

Recently, Conrad Wilkshire, Rural General Manager of Property Brokers, visited the regions of Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty, shedding light on the complexities faced by growers, industry players, and investors in the horticulture landscape. Although not a horticulture expert, Conrad recognizes the importance of staying connected with the ground reality. His recent interactions with industry experts and growers shed light on the resilience and tenacity required to thrive in the horticulture sector.

The past 12 months have proven to be a formidable period for the horticulture sector. Growers faced a perfect storm of challenges, from supply chain disruptions to labor shortages and market uncertainties. Yet, as we reflect on the trials, the indomitable spirit of the industry shines through, fortified by past adversities like the PSA outbreak.

Decades of experience have seasoned these growers, imbuing them with an understanding of the inherent volatility of their profession. With a tenacity that sets them apart, they navigate challenges, proving that resilience is not just a word but a guiding force.

Growers, seasoned by decades of experience, understand the inherent volatility of their profession and navigate challenges with a tenacity that sets them apart.

A closer look at the sales landscape in the primary sector reveals a contraction in both value and number. The horticulture market, a significant player in this scenario, witnessed a notable decline in the first half of the year. Despite these challenges, what stands out is the enduring confidence of the sector's long-term players.

Fueled by a deep understanding of horticulture's cyclical nature, these stalwarts remain committed to future investments. Their conviction, shaped by decades of hands-on experience, acts as a compass guiding them through uncertain times.

In the vibrant tapestry of New Zealand's horticulture, kiwifruit emerges as the maestro, influencing national sales with over 2,600 orchards in the Bay of Plenty alone. The strategic role of kiwifruit in shaping the investment landscape cannot be overstated. Despite challenges, the industry outlook remains robust, propelled by the sector's remarkable ability to navigate adversities and innovate.

Comparing the horticulture markets of Hawke's Bay and the Bay of Plenty reveals unique challenges in each region. Hawke's Bay grapples with a diverse range of fruit production, compounded by the aftermath of Cyclone Gabriel, which left its mark on supply chains, labour management, and fruit quality. In contrast, the Bay of Plenty, with its kiwifruit-centric focus, weathered the storm differently, prompting growers in both regions to reassess their business models in response to global market shifts.

The horticulture sector, though not without its challenges, remains far from fragile.

A measured approach defines investment decisions, marking a shift from speculative actions in recent years. Addressing business succession challenges, innovative models like long-term leasing are proposed to attract fresh talent, striking a balance between the needs of existing owners and the aspirations of a new generation eager to contribute to the sector's continued prosperity.

As the sector embraces change with a blend of seasoned experience and forward-looking vision, its journey becomes not just a story of survival but a testament to its enduring contribution to the economic prosperity of New Zealand. 

Whether you find yourself in the Bay of Plenty, the heart of Hawke's Bay, or anywhere throughout regional New Zealand, the challenges and triumphs of this sector are felt far and wide. As you consider your next steps, be it buying or selling your farm, an experienced Property Brokers rural team is ready to exceed your expectations.

With a perfect blend of energy and experience, Property Brokers stands as a reliable partner in your journey. Our commitment to understanding the nuances of the rural sector, coupled with a forward-thinking approach, ensures your aspirations find fertile ground.

Have a listen to our latest podcast episode on Property Perspectives where we delve into the latest rural market insights



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