An Agri Brigade piece in the latest Private Eye, that marvellous example of good old-fashioned investigative journalism, made me acutely aware of the law of unintended consequences that inevitably applies to trade agreements. With less than 18 months until Brexit, UK negotiators don’t appear to have made any tangible progress towards a workable agreement with their EU counterparts.
In fact each side is talking right past the other: the EU wants to set the amount the UK will pay to exit before discussing important things like trade and the UK doesn’t want to mention it for fear of causing political mayhem at home. And we think we’ve got problems with the coalition discussions which should have reached a conclusion by the time you read this. . .
An upcoming trade deal between the European Union and Australia and New Zealand will help to dramatically increase trade between the blocs, the EU’s trade commission has said.
Despite high-profile Brexiteers hoping Britain would do more trade with Commonwealth countries after Britain leaves the bloc, the EU has pulled away with a head-start in negotiating its own agreement with the two former British colonies.
Cecilia Malmström told the European Parliament on Wednesday that her negotiating team was moving to the next phase of preparations for the trade deal. . .
Overseas land ownership not just a New Zealand problem – Alan Barber:
On a recent trip to Australia I read an article about overseas land holdings on that side of the Tasman which illustrates
the dramatic growth in Chinese investment in Australian agricultural land. In contrast to the rather sketchy and out of date statistics available in New Zealand, the Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Register provides very specific figures at 30th June this year.
Foreign investors now own 13.6% of Australian agricultural land, up from 11% three years ago, with British investment at 33% still the largest source of foreign capital, although this percentage has fallen sharply from 52% 12 months earlier. . .
Technology needs human factor – Richard Rennie:
Kellogg participant and Ballance Agri-Nutrients technical expert Oliver Knowles embarked on his six-month course with the aim of better understanding how farmers take up new technology, particularly precision agri-tech. His work comprised a review of literature on farmer adoption and uptake and a study of applying the findings of that to precision ag technology. He told Richard Rennie about it.
Understanding farmers will help them adopt new technology and develop precision agriculture attitudes, Kellog scholar Oliver Knowles says.
During his study Knowles realised there was more to be uncovered about the make-up of Kiwi farmers.
Early on in his research he quickly came to recognise the conflict farmers almost subconsciously had to deal with when adopting new ideas. . .
LIC chairman Murray King has warned dairy farmers of the threat of disruption and told them they must keep improving and adapting to the changing world.
New Zealand dairy farmers have a global edge in terms of productivity and profitability, but the industry needs to remain ambitious about keeping that edge against the best in the world.
King was speaking at the farmer-owned co-operative’s annual meeting in Invercargill. . .
Genetically modified wheat used to make coeliac-friendly bread – Michael Le Page:
People forced to avoid gluten could soon have their bread (and cake) and eat it. Now there are strains of wheat that do not produce the forms of gluten that trigger a dangerous immune reaction in as many as 1 in 100 people.
Because the new strains still contain some kinds of gluten, though, the wheat can still be used to bake bread. “It’s regarded as being pretty good, certainly better than anything on the gluten-free shelves,” says Jan Chojecki of PBL-Ventures in the UK, who is working with investors in North America to market products made with this wheat.
Gluten is the general term for all the proteins in wheat and related cereals. During baking, these proteins link up to form elastic chains, which is what holds breads and cakes together as they rise. . .