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Source: Horticulture New Zealand

Says existing GAP programmes will enable growers to deliver on new farm planning requirements
Horticulture New Zealand says fruit and vegetable growers can meet new farm planning requirements, through adapting existing Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) programmes.
‘The farm planning principles and requirements announced by the Agriculture Minister today largely mirror existing GAP plans, which are integrated farming planning programmes,’ says HortNZ President, Barry O’Neil.
‘That said, as an industry, we will be reviewing our GAP programmes to see if there are any areas that we need to strengthen.’
Barry says that HortNZ and industry bodies have been working closely with growers on integrated GAP plans for more than 20 years.
‘Our vision has always been one auditor up the drive. This has driven us to ensure that GAP evolves to meet changing regulatory requirements, giving growers, regulators, retailers, and consumers confidence that horticulture is meeting all requirements, while continuing to grow fresh, safe, and healthy food.
‘Our current priority is the rollout of Farm Environment Plans to growers across New Zealand. Farm Environment Plans, as a component of GAP, provide a way for growers to show how they are meeting GAP requirements, which include the integrated farm planning requirements announced by the Minister today.
‘Farm Environment Plans really do deliver on the Minister’s vision to have everything needed for climate change mitigation and adaption, and freshwater quality improvements in one place. That’s why we’re keen to secure the Government’s endorsement and support for their rollout, as they align entirely with what everybody – growers, regulators and central and local government – wants.’
Barry says in most cases, growers are ahead of the game and already meeting new requirements.
‘However, further changes to growing practices will be required over the next decade. To support this, what’s important is Government investment in research and development to ensure we have the tools to succeed so New Zealand growers can lead the world in climate change mitigation and adaption.’