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Fruitfed Supplies Technical Specialist talks all things vegetables

Chris Lambert joins Fruitfed Supplies as the Technical Specialist for vegetable crops

Fruitfed Supplies Technical Specialist talks all things vegetables

Chris Lambert joined Fruitfed Supplies as the Technical Specialist for vegetable crops last year, bringing a depth of knowledge of vegetable cropping and a strong passion for Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Originally from Gloucestershire in the UK, Chris completed a Bachelor of Science in Marine and Freshwater Biology and then a Master of Science in IPM. His family has strong links to the horticultural sector, with earlier generations involved with the propagation and breeding of ornamentals, and the introduction of citrus into Angola in the early 1900s. He worked in a market garden in south India between his studies.

Chris and his partner came to New Zealand eight years ago and soon realised they wanted to stay here. 

“I am really passionate about entomology,” says Chris, “and this is what led to my first job in New Zealand as a squash grower and agronomist based in Gisborne. After working in this growing and agronomy role for five years, I moved onto a research agronomy role for the same company, targeting gains in soil health, crop protection, technology, and farm environment management.”

Chris enjoyed providing agronomy support for a range of vegetable crops, and can see massive potential across the vegetable sector in New Zealand to make growing practices more productive and sustainable with more investment in training, resources and research. 

When the role with Fruitfed Supplies became available, Chris saw that it offered him the potential to help more growers achieve these meaningful gains in productivity and sustainability.

“Fruitfed Supplies has a significant footprint in New Zealand’s horticultural sector, and together we’re here to support our growers’ businesses with their long-term efficiency and productivity. Also, I have great admiration for the Technical Specialist team at Fruitfed Supplies, having overlapped with them in my previous roles, and often thought I’d like to be there one day.”

As a Technical Specialist, a key part of Chris’ role is to provide technical support and training for staff and clients, particularly around vegetable crop protection, with the aim to increase the level of knowledge that Fruitfed Supplies has to offer. 

“This technical expertise right across the business continues to set us apart from our competitors, so continual development of our team’s technical knowledge is of particular importance. 

“My role also bridges the gap between our Technical Horticultural Representatives and our Research and Development team, to make sure our trials are directed by our client’s needs, and that important trial results are shared accordingly with our team to build on our unique understanding of the products we sell.”

Chris also stays involved with wider vegetable sector research projects in order to contribute to the industry and keep Fruitfed Supplies staff aware of any relevant vegetable research news or updates.

As Chris travels around the country’s main vegetable growing regions, he’s encouraged by the number of vegetable growers around the country who understand and consider IPM principles. 

“This is great to see, and I’ll keep working with our team, growers and industry bodies to encourage these IPM strategies to be put into practice on a wider scale. Adopting new ways to manage pests can be challenging, especially in a season like this one where we are seeing generally higher-than-average insect pest pressure, but by demonstrating and sharing IPM wins, we can keep driving its uptake over time.”