Horticulture is returning to Tarnaki.
Avocado and kiwi fruit orchards have not been seen since 1988 – when the devastation of Hurricane Bola forced many to convert to dairy.
Dairy farmers Holly and Jarrod Murdoch’s jump in cue fruit came through a knock on the door of a representative of the industry’s largest company, Apata.
Holly said the Bay of Plenty Company’s approach influenced her husband’s interest in fruit.
“Our place accommodated all the boxes within half an hour of Wanganui, so it is easily accessible for people to choose from. We have found the right type of soil and we have found the right climate.
“They wanted to buy it, so my husband thought that if he wanted to buy land to buy it, there must be something really good about it.”
He said that generating another source of income is also an encouraging factor.
“Absolute diversity was a draw card for us, especially the way the government is going with dirty dairy and things like that.
“We’re still milking some cows, but I guess it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket.”
Murdoch has maintained an interest in the 26-hectare kiwi fruit orchard in Vitotara.
And in Mangamaho and West Meyer, another 40 hectares have been converted, employing 20 people.
Mریori party co-leader Debbie Ngariwa is the chairperson of Packer Ngati Rowan Holdings.
He planted a two-hectare blueberry pilot’s garden in the covered tunnels at the old PATA school, one of which has already been harvested.
Ngarewa-Packer said iwi saw an opportunity.
“Climate change is about to change the situation in Taranaki and in some parts there will be some comparisons with the growing parts of the tricolor.
“And to a large extent, we can manipulate tunnel conditions. Blueberries are grown all the way.”
The pilot has invested 2 million in the road in Hovera.
“We’ve bought about 35 hectares on Torturo Road and now we’ve expanded it and got 5 hectares there for the big garden and part of that is that we’ve become part of a collection of other ivy that It’s called the Meru Berry, that’s how we managed to scale. “
The operation employs about 35 people and five horticulturists full-time at the height of the picking season.
New plymouth contractor Matt Hareb is investing 30 30 million to turn a 30-hectare diary block into an avocado garden near Vitara.
“Well, in six months it will be a little different. We will have at least 10 hectares of avocado.
“They will be 4,500 avocados and each avocado tree will have its own initial shelter, so there will be five pegs like each avocado tree, so they are 5,000 per 1,000 avocado trees so there are very few to go there. “
Harb already has 4,500 avocado trees ordered next year.
“These small dairy blocks are no longer viable and a way to diversify,” he said.
“And it would be nice if I could be a leader in that. Take it a step further and hopefully some other people will join the bandwagon.”
“There are a lot of new things for people to try on their land, but gardening is definitely a way for everyone to eat, so you know there’s money in food.”
Harib hopes that one day a cafe and bar will open on the site.
Venture Taranaki chief executive Justin Galland said research has identified more than 200,000 hectares in the area suitable for gardening.
Although recognizing dairy farming has always been a cornerstone of grassroots agriculture, the development agency was encouraging landowners to consider conversions through its branch-out initiative.
Galland said it was having an effect.
“For example, in the case of avocados, we have 6,000 trees going to the ground this season and 10,000 to the ground next season, so it’s expanding significantly in the presence of the avocados we already have.
“And we have found a new kiwi fruit orchard in Vitotara and other landowners are looking for kiwi fruit.”
Gayland said it is common to grow up in hovera horticulture.
“There were kiwi fruit orchards, there were berry orchards and then we had a cyclone and then as I understand it some of the owners obviously destroyed their crops by the storm and then the prices went up. Due to their return, they moved further to Dairy. “
However, Taranaki has a long way to go.
In 2019, only 514 hectares of land was used for horticulture, compared to 1160 hectares in 2002.
At similar times, the use of dairy land increased from 145,000 hectares to 207,000 hectares.