Growing food is the world’s oldest, most important and most secure job. Humans have always needed to grow and store food, and by the time school leavers today reach the age of 50, the world will need to have doubled the amount of food we grow.
Horticulture is huge in New Zealand thanks to our climate, mineral-rich land and our willingness to innovate and change when required. The industry here is worth almost $6 billion annually and employs more than 60,000 people.
Estimates are that we will need another 15,000 qualified workers in the industry in the next 7 years. And the perception of these workers being just fruit pickers and pruners is as far from the truth as NZ is from its many overseas markets.
To hold our place we need to grow
For New Zealand to hold and grow its place in a world needing all the food we can produce the horticultural workforce needs to grow in every direction. New entrants will provide the research, advice, management and new thinking the sector needs.
That’s where school leavers come in. Right now Horticulture New Zealand along with the Primary ITO is offering 100 apprenticeships. These are right across the industry, from orchards where it all starts through to high tech process plants or world leading production facilities.
Huge range of roles, existing and future
The world already grows enough food for its 7+ billion (and even the projected 9 billion by 2050) but 30 to 40% of raw food materials and ingredients are lost between production and consumption. This can be from spoilage, insects and other pests/diseases, but in developed countries this loss is largely due to wastage.
Horticulture is an industry that has big future roles for scientists, engineers, marketers, producers and entrepreneurs. You can get into these roles through study at university or at a polytechnic, or go directly into work and learn while you earn.
The world will always need to eat, and there will always be work for smart, enthusiastic young people to find their niche in this and growing vital sector.
Is this you?
Did you know…..
- The horticulture industry earns more than five times the export dollars per hectare than dairying
- NZ exports horticulture products to over 120 countries globally
- Kiwifruit is our biggest horticulture product. We ship half a million tons of the fruit offshore each year. Wine exports are next biggest.
- Honey is our fastest growing horticulture product, with China and Australia our biggest markets.
- Onions are our most exported vegetable, followed by peas then potatoes. We sell $85 million worth of peas each year! Check these numbers out here