Trade Minister Damien O’Connor has revived hopes that New Zealand can land a free trade agreement with the UK this year and another one subsequently with the EU, following his just- concluded mission to European capitals.
Farm lobbies had not been confident when he set out. In the case of the UK we had been beaten to the punch by Australia.
It seemed unlikely NZ could get anything better than their Australian counterparts who appeared willing to accept a long phaseout on duties on, in particular, most farm products, including dairy.
Since then Australia has entered the AUKUS pact, which particularly riled France’s President Macron because Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear submarines from the US meant cancellation of a previous (very expensive) deal to buy French diesel-powered submarines. . .
At first blush, there might have been some cheering in the cowsheds at results from the latest Fonterra Global Dairy Trade auction, with prices up by an average 2.2%. But the ebullience would have become more subdued as the reality sank in that the rise in the NZ dollar against the greenback meant the price slipped by 0.5% in local currency terms. Moreover, with costs rising on the farm, maybe there wasn’t anything to cheer about.
Perhaps the only ray of light has been Fonterra’s decision to offer smaller amounts of WMP on the auction platform because of strong contract demand in conjunction with the expectation this season of flat milk supply.
And the auction showed demand is highest for food-service commodities, with butter up 4.7%, cheese up 2.9%, and SMP up 2.5%.
Still, the average price for WMP in lifting 1.5% to an average US$3803 (NZ$5305) a tonne is now 25% higher than at the same time last year. . .
Concerns about the legitimacy of permanent exotic forest carbon farming projects threaten the future of sustainable forestry, Ekos chief executive Dr Sean Weaver says.
“Both native and exotic forests are part of the winning formula that will make carbon farming projects economic. There is a very real risk of Aotearoa New Zealand rejecting restorative carbon farming through policy settings that tar all permanent forest carbon projects – and we could take down sustainable forestry as collateral damage,” he says.
“The 2021 Climate Commission report recommended nearly 300,000 ha of new native forest by 2035 to meet our carbon target under the Paris Agreement. We also need hundreds of thousands of hectares of reforestation to build climate resilient landscapes in erosion prone areas.
“That’s a price tag in the billions, and grant funding won’t make a dent. The investment needed means carbon farming projects need to be profitable and able to service debt, Sean Weaver says. . .
A new report has found more than 10 percent of the fruit grown in Central Otago is not being sold or eaten.
The Central Otago District Council commissioned the research to better understand how much fruit grown on orchards in the region isn’t being utilised, as a first step to supporting ideas to reduce fruit loss.
The report was written by horticulture consulting business, Thrive Consulting, which based its findings off surveys and interviews with local growers.
It found 85 percent of the apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines grown in Central Otago did leave the orchard for local and export markets, but the rest was not being sold or eaten. . .
How could technology and practices solve some of the biggest environmental challenges currently facing New Zealand’s agricultural sector?
That’s the question being asked by Wellington Young Farmers at the Club’s free industry function held in the capital next month.
Showcasing some of the best of food and fibre’s emerging technologies and practices, the event would focus on innovation, the talented minds at the forefront of change and the sheer diversity of skills and thought required to keep New Zealand a global leader in sustainability.
Wellington Young Farmers’ Chair Jessica Black said as a Club, they knew how members and others in the industry were feeling with respect to environmental pressures and wanted to highlight what was being done to tackle those challenging issues. . .
Silver Fern Farms and the New Zealand Meat Workers Union (NZMWU) have today announced a lift in the minimum hourly productive rate paid to existing and new employees at all Silver Fern Farm sites to $24 per hour – an increase of almost 10 percent.
Daryl Carran, National Secretary for the NZMWU says the rate increase is an important step in addressing misconceptions of meat processing as a low-paid occupation, and in placing a higher value on starting level roles in the industry.
“Recruitment and staff retention have become issues of critical importance across the primary sector and competing industries with simpler systems of pay can appear on face value to be more attractive,” says Carran. . .
Why has a tiny fishing lodge in the back end of the South Island won two international travel awards in the same month—when it’s had no international guests since March 2020?
Owen River Lodge is one of only two luxury New Zealand lodges to be named a winner in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards .
And it’s the second year in a row that we’ve done it.
We’ve also been awarded New Zealand’s Leading Lodge in the 2021 World Travel Awards —up against the likes of Blanket Bay, Huka Lodge and Hulbert House. . .