By: Andrew Ashton

Hawke’s Bay’s horticulture industry is hoping for an injection of new blood, with the new president of the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association looking to attract more local youth into the industry.

Speaking to Hawke’s Bay Today, newly appointed president Ben James said his major aim would be to get the association more involved in promoting the industry to young people.

“New Zealand horticulture is just going from strength to strength at the moment. Certainly, here in Hawke’s Bay, everywhere you look there are new trees going in the ground, there’s new ground that previously hasn’t been planted with apples so when you think about all those trees down in the ground and what it does for the Hawke’s Bay economy, it’s fantastic.

“It’s such a thriving industry and there are really good pathways for people to come out the other end with some qualifications and a good career.”

James said the association would also look to support programmes established by industry bodies like New Zealand Apples and Pears and Horticulture New Zealand.

“We’re a big advocate for growers. We want to get our message out there a bit more around what we do and how we support growers.

“We definitely want to start focusing more of our attention on employment and education and getting young people excited about horticulture.”

James takes over from former president Lesley Wilson and his family has grown fruit in Hawke’s Bay for three generations.

He is also a former winner of the national Young Fruitgrower of the Year award.

Source: The Country


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