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Horticulture: When a road trip bears fruit.

Central Otago Horticulture - Engagement with industry to find ways to build capability

Lincoln University and the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust (Rural Leaders), hit the road last week, travelling throughout South and Mid Canterbury and Central Otago.

Professor Hamish Gow of Lincoln University and Chris Parsons, Rural leaders’ CEO, have successfully established stronger links with the horticulture sector and in particular, growers from the pip and stone fruit industries.  

The series of visits were expertly organised, attended, and hosted by Chelsea Donnelly, GoHort Career Progression Manager for Central Otago. The road trip was designed to gain a better understanding of the opportunities for collaboration between Lincoln University, Rural Leaders, and the horticulture sector. 

Also joining the group was Dr. Clive Kaiser, Associate Professor at Lincoln University. Clive is a legend of the cherry fruit industry, and it seemed this status was clear when growers produced Clive’s co-authored book, Sweet Cherries, also known as ‘The International Bible of Cherry Fruit Production.’ “The book would appear from bookshelves, top drawers, and coffee tables, with Clive humbly signing more than a few on request,” said Hamish Gow. 

Professor Gow went on to say,

“This was a real bonus on the trip. To have Clive Kaiser and Chris Parsons there connecting with the sector in such an authentic way, created an atmosphere where the prospect of further collaboration just seemed inevitable.”

The visits included numerous growers, orchards and packhouses, with each discussing the technical production challenges, competency requirements, and opportunities for Rural Leaders and Lincoln University to collaborate in the co-design and development of capability building programmes. 

“Everyone we met was as excited as we were to see both Lincoln University and Rural Leaders engaging with industry. It was a highly productive research trip likely to have exponential benefits for all involved,” enthused Professor Gow. 

Growers and grower groups also expressed interest in exploring the idea of ‘field-labs’ on their farms, as way to further increase productivity and capability, “That’s something we’re extremely excited about exploring”, said Hamish Gow, “If anyone would like to talk more on that idea, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.” 

Professor Gow can be contacted at Hamish.Gow@lincoln.ac.nz 

Our programmes work in partnership with some of New Zealand’s leading agribusiness organisations – click here for more.​