More than 300 attend nationwide research and levy roadshows

10 May 2024

More than 300 growers and other vegetable industry participants attended one of the nine vegetable research and levy roadshows held around the country over the past few months. 

‘The roadshows were a chance for Vegetables NZ and other vegetable product groups to take growers and their advisers through what the latest research activity is showing us,’ says Vegetables NZ research, development and extension manager, Daniel Sutton, pictured, who organised and presented at all the roadshows, in conjunction with Vegetables Research and Innovation (VR&I).

‘Integrated Pest Management (IPM), pesticide resistance, the Sustainable Vegetable Systems (SVS) Nitrogen decision support tool, A Lighter Touch, and the importance of spray diaries were major topics. Then, depending on the growing region, presentations were also made that focused on key research areas for onions, potatoes, process vegetables and buttercup squash. In other words, there was something in each of the workshops for most growers.’

Daniel says he has been blown away by the response.

‘I couldn’t be happier. In Pukekohe, we had about 90 in the room which was our largest event. Turnout in other growing regions was also strong, with engagement with both growers and the wider industry,’ he says. 

‘I am already planning next year’s roadshows. They may look slightly different to this year’s as we also used this year’s events to talk to growers about the commodity levies, what they fund and why growers’ continued support is critical to the future of vegetable growing in New Zealand.’

Vegetables NZ chair, John Murphy – who attended several of the roadshows – says they offered a great opportunity to speak to growers firsthand and gauge the mood of the industry.

‘The past few years have been tough. While growers are currently enjoying better growing conditions, there’s no room for compliancy, due to rising interest and input costs and, at the moment, an abundance of some vegetables that has led to low prices for growers.’

John says the new coalition government has committed to working with the industry to deliver vegetable growing permitted activity status, recognising the importance of ensuring New Zealand has food security.

‘We are currently working with HortNZ and the government to work out the best way to achieve this outcome.’

Commodity levy voting opens on 15 May

Voting for the commodity levies for Vegetables NZ, Onions NZ, TomatoesNZ, Process Vegetables NZ and HortNZ opens on 15 May and closes at noon on 14 May. While no changes are proposed, it is important that growers vote and fill in the voting form completely, as an incomplete form counts as a ‘no’ vote. 

If growers have questions, or do not receive in the post or via email their voting packs on or around 15 May, they should contact Vegetables NZ stakeholder engagement and communications manager, Andrew Bristol on 021 021 62 021 or