Successful pilot of international immersion programme IHIP

FoodHQ was proud to be a sponsor of the inaugural International Horticulture Immersion Program (IHIP) that ran over 3 weeks in July 2019. IHIP is a unique, experiential professional development program that provides a competitively selected group of exceptional university students and recent graduates who possess high leadership potential with a complete immersion into selected international horticultural markets and exposure to the complete value chains supporting them.

The group of eleven students from both Massey and Lincoln represented the entire value chain from plant science through to engineering and food marketing. Two young industry professionals participated and also mentored the younger students along with the four tour leaders. The program spent each of five days in The Netherlands, Belgium, and South Korea.

During the program, participants followed and unpacked the complete value chains for various New Zealand and international horticultural products. As part of this, they were exposed to all of the steps along the value chain from world-leading genetics and plant breeding, through production, post-harvest, distribution, and logistics, export and import, wholesale, retailing and international consumers.

The participants are challenged to analyse, evaluate and debate their observations, synthesize insights, and develop and share their recommendations to the New Zealand horticultural industry through various outputs.

As part of the critical reflection process conducted on tour, each of the participants was required to write an individual opinion piece. Some of these have been published separately on the FoodHQ website.

IHIP is an Industry-driven collaborative venture supported by AgMARDT, NZ Apples and Pears, Zespri International, Massey University, Lincoln University, ANZ Bank, Food HQ, AgFirst, T&G Global, Farmlands, Potatoes NZ, Horticulture Capability Group, and Global HQ. The 2019 pilot was a tremendous success and IHIP is seeking industry partnerships for subsequent programs – contact Professor Hamish Gow ( or 021423380) for more information.

Amos Palfreyman