Progress and resilience within New Zealand's horticulture sector remains bright after the flooding, stated Horticulture New Zealand.
Despite the significant impact of the floods across the North Island, as seen by Pukekohe growers who watched 265mm of rain wash away their crops in a matter of hours, an optimistic recovery is in sight.
Over the last 25 years, the horticulture industry has made noteworthy progress in improving sediment control and managing erosion.
Growers, councils and other industry professionals have collaborated closely since Pukekohe's large 1997 storm, which created the Franklin Sustainability Project and an Integrated Stormwater Management System for areas of Pukekohe Hill.
Other initiatives that have arisen include the "Don't Muddy the Water" programme, Farm Environment Plans, and the Vegetated Buffer Code of Practice. These projects have all resulted in a significantly more sustainable and resilient growing system.
During the North Island floods, these systems demonstrated their strength. Although sediment and crops were found in drains, the impact was lessened than what was previously experienced, despite the storm being on top of Auckland's wettest month to date since the beginning of records.
"That can be attributed to the great work from growers - years of investment, effort and commitment to prevent and minimise the effect of these events, all at the cost of the grower, so that they can continue to supply New Zealanders with local, fresh healthy produce," added Horticulture New Zealand.
With the impacts of climate change, the challenges of growing fruit and vegetables commercially will not become easier. The resilience, industriousness and growing community of growers is key to overcoming these challenges in the present and in the future.
"Each new event brings new insights and re-emphasises the tried and true: Plan, coordinate, act."
"Please remember we are here to support you wherever we can. Your product groups and HortNZ share your frustrations in what has already been a challenging season and we will continue to be here, supporting you, listening and doing everything we can to advocate on your behalf," concluded Horticulture New Zealand.