Primary industry should concentrate on strategy not structure according to Associate Professor Hamish Gow, an ex-pat New Zealander who is a leading US food marekting specialist.
The primary sector has increased its contribution to New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP) from 14% in 1986 to 17% today, something Associate Prof Hamish Gow, an ex-patriate New Zealander now a leading United States food marketing specialist, said had not been achieved elsewhere.
Prof Gow, of Michigan State University, told the recent New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management conference in Queenstown that farmers throughout the world were trying to develop branded marketing channels, but itwas not easily achieved because they could not get industry unity.
Despite that, Prof Gow believed New Zealand’s primary sector had done well, although the models used needed some improving.
The key was to concentrate on strategy not structure.
He gave the example of New Zealand apple growers who, in the process of remodelling the sector’s structure, sold off the profitable juicing business and lost control of the industry.
A strategy had to create value and provide consumers with what they wanted, he said.
There is a lesson here for those who are concerned about the meat industry because any public utterances show that those wanting change are concentrating on structure not strategy.