2020 Growth Awards winners


Three New Zealand agri leaders among regional finalists of 2020 Growth Awards

Productivity and sustainability are two of the most important aspects of agricultural enterprise, and three New Zealand agricultural leaders have proven themselves among the experts on those topics, being named as part of an exclusive group of regional winners in the 2020 Syngenta Growth Awards. 

The Growth Awards recognises leading growers, farm advisers and industry innovators from different regions across Australia and New Zealand, showcasing their valuable contribution to the industry. The regional winners will go onto the final stage of judging, with overall winners to be announced early next year.

Paul Luxton, Managing Director and Country Head – Syngenta Australia and New Zealand, says the standard of entries was high and regional winners should be proud of their achievement. 

“There is a wealth of talent in our industry. Recognising individuals who are leading the way, encouraging and empowering them is vital to the future of New Zealand’s agribusiness sector,” he says. 

Nominees were this year asked to complete a series of challenging questions designed not only to demonstrate their achievements and their expertise, but to uncover their views about collaboration across the industry and big picture topics from future agricultural challenges to food security.

While the regional winners represent a range of diversity, careers, locations and achievements, there were some common threads around true passion for the future of the industry and a commitment to sharing and learning. 

“We’re really excited to name our regional winners,” Mr Luxton says. “It’s wonderful to see so much optimism, innovation and passion in our industry – though it is certainly going to make choosing the ultimate winners a very tough job!”

The Growth Awards support the goals of Syngenta’s Good Growth Plan, which addresses the challenges of producing more with less, protecting the viability of farmland and promoting prosperous rural communities. Syngenta’s commitments to enhancing biodiversity, improving soil health, and helping people stay safe and healthy are underpinned by an investment of $2 billion towards sustainable technology breakthroughs each year by 2025. 

The 2020 Syngenta Growth Awards New Zealand regional winners are:




Graeme Jones 

Graeme is an adviser with PGG Wrightson seeds on New Zealand’s South Island. He has been in the industry for 40 years. He thinks New Zealand is the ideal place for specialist seed production.

“We are seeing increasing need for international seed multiplication especially around demand for vegetable and specialist seed production. We quite often see international seed demand come in cycles but at the moment, it’s more consistent year-on-year for vegetable seed. The seed needs to be grown somewhere and New Zealand with its water and soil type means we are well placed for small seed production.”

Roger Blyth 

Roger is an adviser with Seed and Field Services in Canterbury, but before he was an agronomist, he was an award-winning grower.

When it comes to productivity, he says the secret is a combination of good basics and good tech.

“My goal is to increase the level of production of our growers – they are averaging around 80t/ha but there is more production to be had. My goal in the next three years is to have that production up to 100t/ha of saleable potatoes. It’s perfectly feasible to think we can achieve this. We have smart farmers, and the technology is available. It’s about getting the basics right and the right technology.”



Linda Peacock 

Linda is Industry Liaison & Technical Specialist with Kiwi Fruit Vine Health. She has been in the kiwi fruit sector for 30 years in roles ranging from grower to mentor, and her current role focuses strongly on sustainability.

Linda says one of the keys to a sustainable industry is securing resources including land.

“There is a world population out there that needs to be fed and there is an economy that is reliant on primary produce, so agriculture needs to be successful. We need our share of water resources to successfully grow agricultural crops, we need access to labour and strong science funding, and most of all, we need to keep our social licence to operate.”

For more information please visit: www.syngenta.com.au/growth-awards-2020