In October we teamed up with New Zealand Trade & Enterprise to send Nick Fitzpatrick, a primary industries consultant, to Peru and Chile to explore potential links between Latin America and New Zealand horticultural companies and relevant universities and further develop relations between private, government and university sectors.

Nick gave a keynote presentation at the Fruit Trade conference in Santiago which was well-received. He spoke about sustainability in New Zealand today, customer expectations and opportunities in the sector – all areas the industry is increasingly needing to show leadership on. As Nick says, “while many New Zealand companies are incorporating sustainability as a concept into their company strategies, for companies in Chile and Peru it is still quite a new concept. There are certainly opportunities for collaboration around this”.

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During the conference, Nick met with Chile’s Agriculture Minister, Antonio Walker, and NZTE Trade Commissioner in South America, Rhianon Berry, where they discussed cooperatives in New Zealand and how they have evolved over time, including in the apple, kiwi and dairy sectors. Minister Walker and the Chilean government are challenging Chilean growers and farmers to look at different models to continue to be efficient and competitive.

Another theme of the conference was the need for Chile to invest in new varieties, innovation, marketing and increase market knowledge. New Zealand is well ahead of Chile in this respect so this offers some opportunities for New Zealand companies. The other areas Nick has identified significant opportunities to add value to Peruvian growers and New Zealand companies are plant science, genetics and disease management.

Nick also made some great connections with various university academics who are keen to establish links with New Zealand and are open to the idea of student exchanges to mutually explore areas of strengths and weaknesses of respective countries.

Many thanks to Nick and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise – the relationships you established with key industry and university stakeholders are paving the way for increased dialogue and opportunities for New Zealand companies to do business in Latin America.

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