Auckland market gardeners say farmers are being squeezed into urban sprawl

Rural South Oakland marketers say growing land degradation is affecting cultivators, and urbanization is consuming the city’s productive land.

ፑ ኮ ኮ ኮ ሄ ሄ አትክል አትክል አትክል ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ቤተሰብ ፑ ፑ ፑ ፑ ፑ ፑ ፑ ፑ ፑ ፑ ከተማ ከተማ ከተማ
Photo die STUFF / Stephen Forbes

And when it comes to buying vegetables, they say, ‘It’ s going to hit consumers’ pockets.

The South Auckland Horticulture Industry focuses on ፑkekohe Hub, 4359 hectares of some of New Zealand’s fertile and productive land.

According to the Oakland Council Climate Action Framework, released in 2019, the region’s volcanic soil produces $ 327 million a year, equivalent to 26 percent of New Zealand’s gross domestic product.

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The Bharat Jivan family, a market gardener, has been growing vegetables in Pekokohe for the past 60 years.

But he says the city’s lack of more greenfield land is putting pressure on farmers.

“Land is very difficult to reach now,” said Givan. “Especially if you are looking to expand your business.”

And he says that now a growing number of developers are willing to pay big bucks for it.

“We can’t compete,” said Givan. “So we have to make sure these areas are food security for the country.”

The country relies on Pekokohe vegetables, especially from October to December, because it has been able to plant new crops ahead of other regions south of the city.

Last year, a local court ruling ruled that the loss of Oakland's main fruit and vegetable farm was accelerating.  Urban sprawl is set to consume 31,270 acres[31,270 hectares]of productive land over the next 35 years.

Last year, a local court ruling ruled that the loss of Oakland’s main fruit and vegetable farm was accelerating.
Photo die LDR / Stephen Forbes

However, Givan said that if the region could not produce more, vegetable prices could rise by 30-40 percent during those crucial months.

Amana Bana, director of the Bhana Family Farms, shared his concerns.

Eighteen months ago, the company said it could turn it into a school after losing its lease on eight acres of land on Pokémon Foi Street.

“Sooner or later he has to give something. If the land we grow on is small, it will make people pay more for their garden,” Bhana said.

Kylie Falcner, president of the Pekokohe Gardeners’ Association, said there has been growing development in rural Oakland in recent years and is putting pressure on the industry.

“Urban expansion is imminent,” she said. But we need to find a balance between having affordable food and affordable housing.

A bird's-eye view of some of Pekokohe's main land under pressure of urbanization.

A bird’s-eye view of some of Pekokohe’s main land under pressure of urbanization.
Photo die Things / Chris McKeen

Last year, a local court ruling ruled that the loss of Oakland’s main fruit and vegetable farm was accelerating. Urban sprawl is set to consume 31,270 acres[31,270 hectares]of productive land over the next 35 years.

The government is working to protect such lands and prevent developmental damage by developing new standards as part of the NPS-HPL.

Oakland Council Planning Committee Chair Chris Darby said the changes are needed now more than ever in areas like Pekokohe.

“We are seeking reassurance from the central government,” he said. “We are concerned about the high level of productive and edible land being lost in housing.”

The new guidelines are expected to be released in July or August, according to Environment Minister David Parker.

Local Democracy Report is a public interest journalism funded by NZ on Air.

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