24 Jun 2014

Horticulturalists to gather in Auckland

7:28 am on 24 June 2014

The first joint conference of New Zealand and Australian horticulturalists will bring together more than 1000 fruit, vegetable and flower grower stakeholders.

Cheaper fruit and vegetables helped bring down food prices.

Cheaper fruit and vegetables helped bring down food prices. Photo: RNZ

Horticulture New Zealand president Julian Raine said bringing the New Zealand and Australian industries together was important because of the close economic relationship between the two countries.

"It is our most important market for many of our primary goods and, likewise, New Zealand is important to Australia for a whole range of produce as well, mainly citrus but also things like tomatoes," Mr Raine said.

New Zealand's horticulture industry was in good shape, he said.

"A lot of our exporters are pretty happy with how markets have developed, particularly through Asia.

"We are exporting a lot of produce into the Asian region and our produce is viewed as very safe, we're seen as good value. That is, we're not cheap, but the high quality of our produce is seen as good value.

"We have novel-type products, as well as products that are eaten traditionally in Asia, and if I look at kiwifruit, for instance, we have the best kiwifruit in the world and we are seen as the leaders in the world in varietal development."

Fresh Connections 2014 opens in Auckland on Tuesday.