Students Tour Eastern BOP Horticultural Businesses
- Almost 100 students from four Eastern BOP schools on tour
- Focus on orchard and postharvest sectors of horticulture
The second annual “Cultivate Your Career” event is taking place in Edgecumbe and Pukehina today. Almost 100 year 11, 12 & 13 students as well as interested teachers from Opotiki College, Tarawera High School and Whakatane High School are touring orchard and postharvest sectors of horticulture. The tour will debunk myths to prove horticulture is not only about manual labour and will rather showcase the commercial, scientific and technical careers the industry has to offer.
Students will be taken to visit Southern Cross Horticulture’s large-scale home base in Pukehina to showcase the full spectrum of careers available in the industry, from orchard development and growing plants in the nursery, through to harvesting fruit and orchard management. Next, they will head to EastPack Edgecumbe where they will learn about the postharvest sector, including logistics and the supply chain.
The Eastern BOP Cultivate Your Career event is run as a partnership between New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI), the BOP Young Fruitgrowers Upskilling Trust and the Eastern Bay of Plenty economic development agency Toi EDA.
Renee Fritchley of NZKGI says, “This year is special because it has a practical focus on kiwifruit following the cycle from nursery through to post-harvest production. There are also ambassadors from the industry who will accompany the students on the tour to answer their questions”.
Lee Du Preez of Southern Cross Horticulture says, “Our values underpin everything that we do, and we are proud to be able to inspire our next generation of leaders by showcasing what our industry has to offer”.
Horticulture is New Zealand’s fourth largest primary industry with an export revenue increasing steadily each year to a projected $6.1 billion for 2019. 80% of kiwifruit are grown in the Bay of Plenty region and, for the 2018/19 season, the Opotiki and Whakatane regions contributed $256 million. Kiwifruit production is forecast to increase significantly by 2030. To achieve this growth the industry requires skilled talent who can help drive horticulture’s success further. The kiwifruit industry currently employs approximately 5,500 permanent positions which is expected to increase to around 7,000 by 2030.