30 Nov 2022

Climate change plan released to help kiwifruit growers deal with warmer conditions

12:23 pm on 30 November 2022
Kiwifruit is a popular fruit to grow in Tairāwhiti.

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri has released a climate change adaptation plan to help growers mitigate the effects of the warming climate.

Developed in consultation with growers it follows the company's Climate Change Risks and Opportunities report published last year.

The plan included more than 40 current and future actions Zespri and the wider industry will build on over time to future-proof the growing and breeding of kiwifruit, maintain fruit quality and manage supply, and protect the industry's financial future.

Zespri chief grower, industry and sustainability officer Carol Ward said that included supporting growers to adopt climate resilient practices.

"We know the climate is changing which brings challenges and opportunities for our industry and it's important that we look at how we can ensure the kiwifruit industry remains climate-resilient.

"Looking at aspects like efficient water use, investing in climate-resilient cultivars, developing a future-focused climate research programme, recognising climate impacts in industry planning, assessing the effects of climate change on productivity and profitability, and lessening our exposure to carbon costs by reducing emissions."

Ward said it was critical the industry adapted to protect returns for growers.

"Our industry is already experiencing and responding to climate change, with growers adjusting their growing practices in order to maintain and increase yields in light of the changing climate.

"This can be seen in the installation by growers of hail netting, the development and maintenance of shelterbelts to help protect orchards from severe wind events and the use of irrigation to prevent vines from experiencing water stress or frost, with post-harvest facilities also adjusting the packing of fruit in light of warmer temperatures."

"We've also established a climate change strategy and continued to invest in innovation to explore new cultivars and in research to better understand how we can best mitigate the impact of climate change," Ward said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs