A report released last week that highlights the declining quality of the nation's soil has been welcomed by Horticulture New Zealand.
Although the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) report, Our Land focused on water quality, it also brought to light the erosion of soil and its quality which is equally important according to Horticulture New Zealand President Julian Raine.
Raine told The Country's Jamie Mackay, "A lot of the focus has been on water quality but I think quite rightly there should be a lot more focus on...protecting our soil because at the end of the day, that's the stuff you've got to mix with water to grow anything."
The data collated in the report shows that 192 million tonnes of soil is lost every year from erosion and 44% of that comes from pasture.
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Although the statistics are worrying Raine says, "I think crunching those numbers is a really important part going forward and then doing something about it."
Urban sprawl is increasing at the expense of the most productive and versatile land, a trend which Raine says will "put high pressure on those more fragile soils that can't actually handle, or are as productive as the ones we're burying under concrete and asphalt."
Also in today's interview: Julian Raine takes a look at the apple and kiwifruit harvest.