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New Horticulture Initiative Takes Recipients To The Netherlands

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They’re the pick of the crop – a group of New Zealand’s best and brightest young talent who are this week embarking on the first ever International Horticultural Immersion Programme (IHIP). IHIP is the newest industry-led and funded $250,000 pilot initiative aimed at creating a pipeline for attracting the top, most dynamic and innovative talent into New Zealand horticulture. Getting ready to head off, recipients Meg Becker and Leander Archer say IHIP is an incredible opportunity they never dreamed possible so early in their careers. Archer, who at 24 is one of the youngest horticultural consultants in New Zealand’s booming apple industry at AgFirst in Hastings, said her passion for the environment and what the future looks like are her top priority. “We’re going to the Netherlands, a country known for being at the forefront of international environmental practices, and I want to see what ideas we can bring back to New Zealand. “Spending a full day dedicated to pipfruit in South Korea, I’ll see for the first time apples growing in a country with a very different climate, and get to understand the different challenges this brings.” Becker, 22, a leading hand for T & G Global in Hawke’s Bay, said it will be an “awesome eye-opening experience, showing us the world’s leading horticultural innovation, and how this has been incorporated into organisations globally.   We’ll gain experiences we will be able to utilise and refer to throughout our careers” says Becker. The two are joining 11 Massey and Lincoln University students who along with industry and education leaders will travel across Belgium, Netherlands, and South Korea. They will visit the world’s highest rated Horticultural University – Wageningen University and Research, embassies in Brussels and Seoul, businesses at the cutting edge of innovation along the whole horticultural value chain from production to the consumer.  They will also gain in-depth comparative exposure to T&G Global and Zespri’s operations in both Europe and Korea. New Zealand Apples & Pears capability and development manager Erin Simpson said the international market and whole of value chain immersion will give the IHIP team unique opportunities to engage with horticultural businesses, leaders and peers. “All while exploring the value chain, business and career opportunities and creating new and innovation product, service and business offerings.” Simpson said New Zealand horticulture’s rapid growth over the past decade had outstripped its talent pool. “There is a growing urgency within the sector for securing talent across all levels of the horticultural industry,” he said. Travelling with the IHIP group, Professor Hamish Gow, Massey Business School’s Professor of Agribusiness said over the past three months a collaborative group of visionary corporate partners have rapidly stepped up to co-design, co-invest and co-deliver IHIP. “The program will provide a highly selective group of exceptional students and recent graduates a unique immersion experience where they will have the opportunity to lift the lid on the whole horticultural value chain from international consumer right back to domestic production and technology. “They will gain exposure to and insights from some of the world’s leading horticultural companies, leaders, and researchers. The program will provide the participants a massive career leg up and will set them on an accelerated leadership trajectory within the horticultural industry.” Follow the IHIP daily blogs and video diaries at ihip.nz Photo: IHIP recipients Meg Becker and Leander Archer get ready to head off on New Zealand’s first International Horticulture Immersion Programme Posted: 28 June 2019