New Zealand

Housing still encroaches on best fruit and veg-growing land

In New Zealand, The best areas for growing fruit and vegetables are still being gobbled up by housing and lifestyle blocks.  According to the Our Land report from Statistics NZ and the Ministry for the Environment, the area of highly productive land that is unavailable for growing food because it’s covered by housing increased by 54 percent between 2002 and 2019.

As of 2019, the area of prime soil for growing potatoes, onions, leafy vegetables and other produce that was buried under housing totalled more than 107, 000 hectares. And while that doesn’t seem excessive in the scheme of New Zealand’s total 26.8 mln ha land area, the best food-growing soil comprises just 15 per cent of the country.

Without action, fresh fruit and vegetables could get even more expensive, says Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson. quoted from the Our Land report: “Highly productive land is at risk of becoming unavailable for agriculture due to housing developments. Our exports and domestic food production currently rely on the small amount of highly productive land we have.”

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