Healthy plants’ contribution to New Zealand’s wellbeing and economic sustainability has been highlighted at the launch of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) in Wellington in February.

“Healthy plants are the backbone of New Zealand’s wellbeing and make a significant contribution to our economy,” says Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.

“Horticulture, including viticulture, contributed approximately $9 billion to the New Zealand economy in 2019.

“Fruit and vegetables are essential for healthy people.  However, as many as one in five adults and one in six children in OECD countries are obese* at the same time that one in five children under five are malnourished.

“Healthy plants offer food security, not only for New Zealanders but for the people in the countries we export food to. Healthy plants are also a significant contributor to New Zealand’s human capital, providing employment and healthy food.

“As a result, planning for future food security, particularly enabling the best use of our land, in these changing times is very necessary,” says Mike.

Philippa Stevens, Group General Manager Science Services at Plant & Food Research, says plants are a vital part of New Zealand – both for our economy and in our culture.

“Globally, New Zealand is recognised for its exemplary management of pests and diseases, both pre- and post-border,” says Philippa.

“Our horticultural industries use science-based sustainable production systems to ensure our fresh produce is free of pest and disease and meet or exceed the exacting residue requirements of many global markets. This means our produce is exported to 128 countries worldwide with very few barriers.

“Unfortunately, our plants, particularly our unique native species, are being increasingly exposed to new threats. Increased travel and goods importation provide more pathways for entry and climate change is creating beneficial environments for pests and diseases that previously may not have been able to establish here.

“IYPH provides the opportunity for us to highlight and celebrate the work being undertaken to protect our plants for the benefit of New Zealand.”


Horticulture New Zealand and Plant & Food Research are pleased to be working with Ministry for Primary Industries in launching the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) in New Zealand.  IYPH will see a number of plant health related events happening throughout New Zealand this year.

The International Year of Plant Health 2020 was declared by the United Nations in late 2018. IYPH is an opportunity to raise global, regional and national awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.

Horticulture New Zealand is an industry good organisation that represents the interests of approximately 5000 growers.  The horticulture industry employs more than 60,000 people and exports to 128 markets.

Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand-based science organisation, working with the horticultural, arable, seafood and food industries to deliver a smart green future. Plant & Food Research has 1,000 people working across Aotearoa New Zealand and the world to help deliver healthy foods from the world’s most sustainable production systems.