In February 2020, the Potatoes NZ board adopted a new strategic objective of zero net emissions by 2050.
“This is now one of 3 central objectives including doubling export value by 2025 and increasing domestic value by 50% by 2025,” writes Gemma Carroll, PNZ Communications & Engagement Officer in a recent article.
PNZ are focussed on reducing emissions whilst continuing industry growth, she says.
In September 2019, Potatoes NZ launched the Emissions Taskforce, underpinned by a multi-workstream project known as the Emissions Project (PNZ-79). In the early months of 2020, it was expanded and renamed The Sustainable Vegetable Systems Project (SVS) in order to reflect the relevance to the vegetable sector overall, the expansion of our stakeholders to include leafy greens, onions and brassicas, and the adjusted focus of some work streams, with the goal of eventually extending the tools and outcomes to all in the vegetable sector.
The SVS Project is a multi-stream nationwide project that will transition crop production to more sustainable land management practices while growing resilient communities and economies.
The overall aims of this project are:
- Maintain social license to operate for vegetable growers and industries
- Protect industries’ ability to grow, process and export products, while meeting environmental standards and maintaining international competitiveness
- Reduce the impact of crop farming practices on the environment and water quality, whilst maintaining grower license to operate through national, regional and farm programmes..
The outcomes of this project will be a greater understanding of nitrate and nutrient management and an informed means of measuring environmental impact based on sound scientific data. This will help growers improve their nutrient use efficiency through the adoption of good/or best management practices.
“Potatoes New Zealand has a strong track record of facilitating research and development,” Gemma says. “We have the capability and capacity to coordinate grower engagement and undertake field work. Under CEO Chris Claridge’s leadership we maintain a strong portfolio of research projects that delivers real impact to growers and the industry and Dr Iain Kirkwood, PNZ Technical Manager, has 35 years’ experience in the industry and manages the New Zealand’s seed potato certification, Research and Development and Biosecurity programmes.”