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Sustainability: Nitrogen management in the spotlight for New Zealand’s potato and vegetable sectors

The so-called Sustainable Vegetable Systems Programme (SVS) in New Zealand is in its third year and is making great progress towards improving tools and guidelines for the country’s potato and vegetable sectors’ nitrogen management.

Today is the launch of the first of three short videos outlining the programme goals and activities. The first video can be seen on the Potatoes New Zealand YouTube channel – see video below, or watch on YouTube here. Two more videos will launch on the 21st and the 25th of November on the same channel.

According to Chris Claridge, CEO of Potatoes NZ: “SVS is a successful collaboration between NZ vegetable growers, NZ agronomists and NZ scientists from two of NZ’s fantastic research teams. We are excited to enable a more sustainable approach to vegetable growing with positive impacts on environmental, economic and social outcomes”.

SVS is funded by Ministry for Primary Industries, led and co-funded by Potatoes New Zealand in collaboration with the Vegetable Research & Innovation Board and Horticulture NZ.

SVS is a $7.5 million-dollar national project, spread over 4 years and has multiple workstreams. The programme outputs include providing analysed trial results and subsequent modelling of the vegetable nitrogen system. This is presented as nitrogen budgets.

The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research (PFR) are conducting the field, laboratory and modelling research.

Antony Heywood, GM of Vegetables NZ says: “SVS enables vegetable growers to scientifically prove that their growing practices are able to achieve sustainable levels in environmental, economic and social outcomes”.

There has been significant social science conducted by PFR and social science company, FOLKL, to ascertain the level of problem recognition within the industry and to engage growers in collaborative tool development.

Overall SVS programme aims

  • To maintain vegetable and potato industries’ social license to operate.
  • To protect the ability to grow, process and sell, while meeting environmental standards.
  • To ensure industry access to land, water and nutrients through national, regional and farm programmes in order to achieve industry growth.

Fast Facts

  • The NZ potato industry value is just over $1 billion dollars per annum
  • The NZ vegetable sector value is $430 million dollars per annum
  • There are 178 Potato growers in NZ
  • The rest of the vegetable sector comprises of 700 growers

Source: Potatoes NZ
Photo: Ohakune Gold potatoes. Courtesy and credit Potatoes NZ
Video: Watch on YouTube here

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