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New Zealand’s pipfruit industry gathers in August for National Conference

More than 250 growers, suppliers, industry leaders and government officials from around the country will gather at the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson for the 2022 NZ Apples and Pears Inc (NZAPI) Conference.

The Conference will be held on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 August, with the industry AGM being held on Wednesday 24 August at 4pm. An ‘Agritech in the Orchard’ field day will be also be held on Wednesday 24 August, a collaboration between Callaghan Innovation and NZAPI.

The theme for the 2022 conference is ‘Adapting to New Horizons’. NZAPI CEO Terry Meikle says that two years on from the beginning of the pandemic, we have learned to modify and adapt to a new environment to ensure New Zealand pipfruit can continue to compete on the global stage, demand premiums and remain an industry exemplar.

“NZ is widely regarded as the best apple and pear producer in the world, but to retain that title, we must continue to adapt and innovate. The Conference will explore how we as an industry can meet and succeed in these new environments.

“Over the two days of the Conference we will have presentations and discussions on the themes of enabling our industry globally, strengthening our sustainability pillar, technology partnerships and telling our story. This event will be a great opportunity for our members and industry stakeholders to share their plans and explore how we can achieve our goal of becoming a $2 billion export industry despite the challenges we continue to face,” says Mr Meikle.

Keynote speakers for the Conference include Walt Duflock, Vice President of Innovation, Western Growers USA.

Mr Duflock will address how the New Zealand industry can plug in to global innovation to accelerate agtech solutions faster, by working with start-ups and growers worldwide to enable more grower discovery, conversations, field trials and case studies. He will also present his views on how New Zealand can build a workforce that is ready and enabled to work with these new agtech solutions.

Also speaking on global technology will be Peter McHannigan, Innovation Leader for Orchard Technology at Zespri International. Mr McHannigan will speak about how Zespri is ensuring the technologies it is investing in aligns with international trends and its understanding of the technology landscape for horticulture.

On Friday morning, speakers will address the question of how the apple industry will continue to lead the world under a sustainability lens and aspects around understanding the global sustainability. There will be a panel discussion, comprising Jacqui Macalister, Bridget Coates, Barbara Nebel and Gareth Edgecombe.

The pre-conference ‘Agritech in the Orchard’ field day will aim to connect innovators, researchers and growers within the apple and broader horticulture sector, and aims to build a deeper understanding of industry challenges and available solutions. The day’s programme will include knowledge-building sessions, networking and connecting opportunities.

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