Future of Aotearoa’s fruit and vegetable kai systems to contribute to international discussion

Source: Fresh Plaza

About 60 industry leaders met yesterday to discuss the future of Aotearoa’s fruit and vegetable kai systems.

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Photo: 123RF

The pan-produce industry organisation United Fresh is leading a United Nations Independent Dialogue as part of the UN’s global initiative the Food Systems Summit.

United Fresh president Jerry Prendergast said the aim was to contribute a local viewpoint to an international discussion on the future of food systems.

Prendergast said while it was a global project, the UN emphasised the importance of local solutions.

“While Aotearoa is a country with great growing conditions, vulnerable families are increasingly unable to access the recommended 5+ A Day servings of fresh fruit and vegetables,” Prendergast said.

“Our current supply systems are not always an option for those living in poverty. Many rely on food banks and church-based charities to put essential foods on their table. It’s important that we examine our whole food system to address these inequity issues and ensure the health and wellbeing of all Kiwis.”

The role of Māori in the $6 billion horticulture industry was also in the spotlight, with discussions lead by Dr Nick Roskruge, Chair of Tāhuri Whenua – The National Māori Vegetable Growers Collective.

Challenges such as climate change, water fluctuations, labour shortages and the spread of urban areas into traditional growing regions were also on the agenda.