Home' Otago Southland Farmer : August 24th 2012 Contents 24.8.12 Farmer
Select the best
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Challenge: New Zealand's food exports will have
to treble to about $60 billion to achieve the
standard of living we aspire to by 2025.
Last month I spoke at the launch of
a report that has thrown down
the gauntlet to New Zealand's
The Riddet Institute's report A
Call to Arms is challenging our
agricultural food sector to lift its game,
warning that the country faces a "mediocre
economic future" if it doesn't.
The report is a frank and insightful read. It
sends a clear message that action is needed
by our agri-food business sector leaders in
partnership with Government if we are to
The agri-food sector already makes a
significant contribution to the New
Zealand economy -- it accounts for more
than $24 billion worth of exports, about 10
per cent of total employment and more
than two-thirds of our merchandise export
And this doesn't include the contribution
our fibre industries -- wool and timber --
make to the economy. But, as the report
points out, we can still do better.
If we are to achieve the standard of living
we aspire to by 2025, we must treble the real
value of our food exports to about $60
This is a real compound growth of 7 per
cent over the next 13 years.
I know this seems a daunting task in the
current economic environment, but as the
report notes, Government has set the
direction and increased its efforts and
resources. Now industry must also act.
While the strategies outlined in the report
are not necessarily new, they provide a
firm blueprint for action.
To realise growth, industry needs to
collaborate more. New Zealand needs to be
more innovative and to build on our
strengths as a high-quality, sustainable
producer. We are rich in natural resources
and we sit on the doorstep of the world's
fastest growing region. Most importantly,
our farmers and growers are very good at
what they do.
But if we are to reach our goal of growing
exports to 40 per cent of GDP by 2025 from
30 per cent, business as usual is not enough.
The authors of A Call to Arms are
challenging the sector to take a ''whole of
value chain'' view to overcome barriers.
The report outlines transformational
strategies and enablers that will drive the
growth of the agri-food sector in a
sustainable way. It calls for a peak body, an
agri-food board, to drive the
recommendations of the report.
Capturing New Zealand's primary sector
potential has been the focus of discussion at
a meeting of New Zealand primary sector
leaders at Stanford University in the
United States this month.
At the time of writing this column, this
industry-led ''boot camp'' was under way --
a unique opportunity to bring about 20
chief executives together, over five days, to
explore and drive in-market collaboration
within the primary industry.
It is not often that we can get a powerful
group like this representing more than 80
per cent of New Zealand's primary sector
exports around the table, and I'm confident
of positive results. This meeting of minds
could be the very catalyst the agri-food
sector needs to take up the challenge of the
Riddet Institute's report.
David Carter is the Minister for
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