Rural round-up

October 26, 2018

Tree planting plan lacks clarity – Neal Wallace:

The Government’s billion-tree planting programme lacks clarity with ministers delivering conflicting messages, Canterbury University expert Professor Euan Mason says.

Until there is consistency on the policy’s objective, definitive decisions cannot be made on where trees are planted, species, planting incentives and the economic and social impacts.

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones views the policy as regional economic development and carbon sequestering as part of climate change policy. . . 

Guy Trafford assesses the mess the US dairy industry is in from the recent unintended consequences of bad trade policies. He also reviews Canterbury dairy farm sales activity:

While most involved in New Zealand dairy farming are aware that around the globe nobody appears to be getting rich in the industry, some interesting figures have recently come out of Wisconsin.

It is the second largest American state for dairy production based upon cow numbers currently, and it is notable for the wrong reasons.

Between January 1st and August 31st this year 429 farms have closed down. This is likely to exceed the record year for closures of 2011 when 647 farms closed. While many of the closures are at the smaller end of the scale – less than 100 cows – an increasing number are larger and over 300 cows. The reasons given for the closures are the low returns and growing debts over successive years. . . 

Red meat sector welcomes CPTPP ratification:

The red meat sector welcomes the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

New Zealand is now the fourth country to complete its domestic ratification process along with Mexico, Singapore, and Japan. The agreement requires at least six of the eleven member countries to ratify the agreement before it can come into force. Consequently, we strongly encourage the remaining member countries to do so before the end of this year. . .

Horticulture submission not nonsense:

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says he was surprised by the attitude of some members of the Education and Workforce Select Committee when he spoke to the organisation’s submission on the Employment Relations (Triangular Relationships) Amendment Bill today.

“I thank National MP Nikki Kaye for calling out the comments about our submission from Labour MP Kieran McAnulty. We appeared in good faith to speak to our submission and were speechless when we were told we did not understand what the Bill proposes and then had to watch the MPs fight about it,” Chapman says. . . 

Apple and stonefruit industry members successfully broker meeting between MPI and US facility to aid reaccreditation process:

The nursery and fruit-growing companies at the heart of the legal action against MPI over seized plants and plant material have been working hard to facilitate the rebuilding of the relationship between MPI and the USA-based Clean Plant Centre North West (CPCNW).

This facility has supplied New Zealand orchards and nurseries with new plant varieties for over 30 years and plays a critical role in the future of the New Zealand apple and stonefruit export industry. As part of MPI’s recent review and audit, accreditation of the facility was withdrawn.  . . 

‘Non-dairy milks? I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole’: Food journalist JOANNA BLYTHMAN destroys the healthy alt-milk myth:

Non-dairy ‘milks’? As a seasoned investigative food journalist, I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole.

So I’m sorry to see that people are forking out more for them than dairy milk. 

Coffee chains typically charge an extra fee if you want a latte made with an alt-milk – because we’ve been led to believe they’ll make us healthier, and that buying them is more virtuous.

Let’s look at how the vast majority of milk lookalikes are made. . . 

 


Rural round-up

October 5, 2016

The rise of China’s agriculture – Keith Woodford:

Although it leaves many New Zealanders uncomfortable, there is a stark reality that the future of New Zealand’s agricultural industries, and hence the overall economy, is highly dependent on China. The reason is very simple: there is no-one else in the world who needs and wants our agricultural products at the levels we produce those products.

If action were driven by logic, then we would spend a lot of effort in trying to understand China.   We would want to understand Chinese consumers, we would want to understand Chinese government policy towards agriculture, and we would want to understand what is happening on the ground in rural China.

We do know something about all of these things, but we don’t know enough.  In particular, we know very little about what is happening within Chinese agriculture itself.

New meat strategy positive – MIA:

 Beef+Lamb NZ’s new red meat marketing strategy results from a step-up in collaboration by the wider red meat sector, says Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie.

And the new approach is not without valuable precedent. The refocused strategy, with BLNZ directing promotional efforts to new markets, is similar to decades ago when North American and Japanese markets were targeted after Britain joined the European Union (then known as the Common Market), Ritchie says. . . 

Dairy-specific science facility secured for Southland:

A new dairy research and demonstration farm being developed in Southland will ensure the local dairy sector continually has access to the latest science and innovation, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says.

The Southern Dairy Hub is being funded by AgResearch, DairyNZ and the Southern Dairy Development Trust, which represents the region’s dairy farmers.

The investment recognises the scale and importance of dairying in the Southern region and aims to address the unique significant localised issues faced by Southland dairy farmers. . . 

Wilson urges farmers to back changes:

One week out from an important vote for New Zealand’s biggest company, Fonterra Chairman John Wilson is urging farmers to back changes to the cooperative’s governance and representation.

This would mean Fonterra can stay focussed on making the most from farmers’ milk and growing farmers’ wealth, he says.  

“Over the past eight months there has been a lot of good discussion on the unique governance structure of the cooperative,” Wilson says. . . 

Access to food essential to better urban planning:

Access to staples of the New Zealand food basket, such as carrots, potatoes, onions and leafy greens, must be a consideration on the table in urban planning, says Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Chapman.

Horticulture New Zealand has made a submission on the Productivity Commission’s draft report Better Urban Planning.

The draft report suggests different ways of delivering urban planning in New Zealand to meet changing demands. . . 

International butchery at its best – Rod Slater:

 I headed over to Australia last month with our national butchery team, The Pure South Sharp Blacks, and four of our most talented young butchers. Our mission: To compete in the World Butchers’ Challenge – a three hour cutting test match between four nations; Australia, France, the UK and New Zealand.

The curtainraiser was an incredible showdown between an international group of young butchers and butcher apprentices.

The event unfolded with a week touring the best butcher shops in both Sydney and the Gold Coast and as always upon visiting Australia, our delegation was truly impressed by what was on offer. . . 

Image may contain: cloud, sky and outdoor

Farm girl to do list: wake up, kick butt, repeat.

 


Reputation at risk from word play on labels

September 27, 2011

An Australian television report says New Zealand is being used as the back door into Australia, and chemicals that are banned in other countries are being allowed in.

A dangerous trick is being played in the battle to take over local vegetable growers, with Chinese frozen vegetables sneaking into Australia through New Zealand.

The response from Horticulture New Zealand isn’t reassuring:

Chief executive Peter Silcock says testing proved that products coming from New Zealand met the requirements in terms of chemical residues and in labelling and the Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed that frozen vegetable exports to Australia comply with New Zealand food regulations.

But what if the regulations don’t go far enough for consumers?

However, Mr Silcock says Hort NZ does believe there could be amendments to New Zealand’s food labelling laws so they have more ‘country of origin’ information.

He says phrases such as “made from local and imported ingredients” are not as helpful as they could be and the industry would like to see more specific labelling.

If the industry wants to see more labelling, it doesn’t need to wait for legislation.

There is nothing preventing producers and manufacturers from introducing better country of origin labelling themselves and there are marketing opportunities for grown/made/processed in New Zealand.

It is difficult to give country of origin labelling to products with many ingredients but frozen vegetables usually contain only vegetables. How hard can it be to let consumers know where they were grown and processed?

New Zealand has very high standards for food safety and quality and the continuing demand for our exports rely on our reputation for that.

Any exporters who are playing with words on packaging and using New Zealand’s reputation to sell produce from other countries are risking that reputation.

That would not only impact on the product involved it could threaten all our other food exports too.

Perception is reality when it comes to food and we cannot afford to do anything to change the perception – based on strict quality and safety standards – that our food is good and safe.


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