Why it was good to be a farmer in 2020 – Ben Speedy:
2020 has been full of surprises. I’m not sure there has been a more disruptive year in my lifetime. For many across New Zealand, 2020 suddenly morphed into the year of “resetting”; a year to take stock, re-evaluate priorities and stay close to home. But for many Kiwi farmers and growers, it’s also been a year to make hay while the sun is shining.
The outlook wasn’t always so rosy. Back in January and February, the north and east of the North Island were officially in drought – some regions for a sustained period – significantly impacting production outputs for many. No one knew what the future would hold and what they’d need to get through.
Then, Covid-19 – and later the rain – arrived.
For an exporting country like ours, initial predictions the pandemic would result in a broad slowdown in international trade amid border closures, logistics difficulties and reduced demand did dampen the economic outlook. However, fears Covid-19 would send globalisation into reverse have so far proved unfounded. . .
Last month, the High Court dropped a bombshell. A judge in Wellington made a decision which left pig farmers like me facing an uncertain future almost overnight.
The judge ruled that two regulations and two minimum standards in the Pig Code of Welfare, that permit the use of mating stalls and farrowing crates, are now unlawful and invalid.
Now, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), which provides independent advice to the Government minister responsible for animal welfare, must assess the validity of New Zealand pig farmers continuing to use the most common indoor farrowing system globally, to raise pigs.
The Court also directed the Minister to consider recommending new regulations that provide a transition period to phase out the use of farrowing crates and mating stalls. . .
Maintaining our slice of heaven – Jacqueline Rowarth:
Investment in primary sector research and development will assist in maintaining our “slice of heaven”, Dr Jacqueline Rowarth writes.
“May you live in interesting times.”
What has been described as the translation of a Chinese curse is, in fact, a western and modern invention.
Probably the same is true of “May all your children be daughters”. And in the same way that most people have come to accept that girls are as good as boys, and for different reasons, we also accept that if times aren’t interesting, we’re bored. . .
Culture shock almost overcome – Mary-Jo Tohill:
Just imagine having been brought up in highly urbanised London.
You’ve spent your career working in hospitality and you have only a rudimentary idea of where milk comes from. Then your Kiwi girlfriend tells you she’s got you a job on a dairy farm in the wilds of rural New Zealand.
That’s exactly what happened to Daniel Bergin (26) when he and Kerryn Brunton moved back to her hometown, Tapanui, from the United Kingdom in July.
More accustomed to pulling pints than a dairy cow’s teats, he’ll never forget his first day in the cowshed.
“I walked in and thought, ‘What have I done?’.” . .
An 11ha avocado orchard – Brent Melville:
New Zealand produces just 2 percent of the world’s avocados but is the ninth-largest exporter of a fruit that has been touted as the ‘superfood’ of the 21st century.
Horticulture was the bright spark in New Zealand’s primary export world last year, with fruit, vegetables and wine generating $6.5 billion in export receipts, a healthy chunk of total primary sector revenues of $47.5 billion.
And the Ministry for Primary Industries expects horticulture to continue being the star of the show, with forecasts of a 9 percent increase to $7.1 billion for the 2021 season.
The biggest contributor to that is kiwifruit, which saw exports valued at $2.5 billion this past year followed by wine, which bottled up $1.9 billion in exports. . .
Resilient agriculture requires trade barriers be removed – Grace Bwogi Namukasa :
The average person in Uganda eats 660 pounds of bananas each year.
That’s a lot of bananas: It’s at least 50 percent more than the weight of a full-grown male mountain gorilla. Ugandans eat more bananas per person than the people of any other nation.
I’m a banana farmer in the Rakai district of Uganda, so you might think that I’d have trouble keeping up with our country’s strong demand for bananas. The vast majority of Uganda’s bananas supply local markets, but we also export them. More than 1,000 tons each year head to Europe. Many of the bananas on my farm make their way to the United Kingdom, and other Ugandan farmers send bananas to Belgium and Germany as well as neighboring African countries. . .