Almost 100 students from four Eastern BOP schools have seen for themselves orchard and postharvest sectors of horticulture.
The second annual “Cultivate Your Career” event took place in Edgecumbe and Pukehina on Thursday.
Almost 100 year 11, 12 & 13 students as well interested teachers from Opotiki College, Tarawera High School, Whakatane High School and Trident High School toured 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 were 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.
They then headed to EastPack Edgecumbe, where they experienced 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.
“This year is special because it has a practical focus on kiwifruit following the cycle from nursery through to post-harvest production,” says Renee Fritchley of NZKGI.
“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 their values underpin everything they do.
“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.
About 80 per cent 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 5500 permanent positions which is expected to increase to around 7000 by 2030.