Taking stock of our soil: How housing developments are threatening NZ's fertile land

Growers are concerned their land is under threat as housing developments take over fertile soil plots.

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Only five per cent of land in NZ is ideal for veges but it's starting to disappear under new homes. Source: Sunday

Farmers are sounding the alarm, revealing new research that shows how much land has already been lost to housing projects.

Bharat Jivan is a local vegetable grower in Auckland’s Pukekohe and says he’s being squeezed out by lifestyle blocks.

The area is only 50km from central Auckland so there’s a huge demand for housing.

Land he used to crop last year is now becoming a school. He points to 23 sections as well as rural lifestyle blocks now sprawling over agricultural land.

“I know people want to live and they all want a house. And, but you know, people have got to remember that they need to eat.

“And even though we can build houses just about anywhere but you cannot grow vegetables. anywhere,” Jivan says.

New research shows New Zealand is disproportionately developing its best produce-growing land but that research will also help inform the Government exactly how much land is being subdivided.

Soil scientist Fiona Curran-Cournane says once New Zealand’s best fertile land is cut up, there’s no going back.

“It’s really important that we’re taking stock of what’s happening to these land and soils,” she says.

For the full Sunday story, watch the video above.