Ag outlook brighter than other sectors

28/03/2009

The outlook for agriculture is brighter, or at least less gloomy, than for most other sectors according to the EU Prospects for Agricultural Markets  which covers the period from 2008 to 2015.

 The global financial crisis will have an impact in the short term but the medium outlook is more positive with a gradual recovery in commodity prices and:

  • the growth in global food demand,
  • the development of the biofuel sector and the
  • long-term decline in food crop productivity growth.

 The report points to lower production of milk and meat in the EU which means less competition for New Zealand produce. 

While yesterday’s announcement that our gross domestic product declined .9%  in the December quarter is sobering, agriculture outperformed other sectors:

SNZ said primary industry activity increased 1.6 percent in the December quarter, while activity in goods producing industries fell 3.6 percent.

A rise in agriculture production was mainly driven by increased dairy production. For the December year activity in primary industries increased 0.9 percent, compared to an increase of 3.6 percent for the year to December 2007.

 The role meat and milk will play in our economic recovery was noted by AgResearch chief executive Andy West when he stressed the importance of research and development.

He cautions that R&D spend should not be curtailed as credit facilities dry up around the world.

While he doesn’t see any evidence of a decline in pastoral R&D spend in New Zealand, he agrees that it has come under pressure during the economic crisis.

. . . It is the single most important sector that will help us get out of the economic crisis,’ he told Rural News. ‘We have to export our way out and the dairy and meat sectors need all the assistance they can get.’

If the South Island field days are anything to go by, agriculture is not just the most important, it’s also one of the most positive sectors.

The Press reports that opening day numbers were up and while farmers were showing caution, they weren’t mentioning the r word.

And TV3 said that  recession was a dirty word among the farmers they spoke to.

It’s possible they only interviewed the optimists. No-one is saying that farming is booming, but the mood in the paddocks does seem to be more cautious than depressed and the EU forecast suggests a brighter outlook in the medium term.

Hat Tip: Phil Clarke’s Business Blog


Nat’s ag policy announced

23/10/2008

National’s policy of voluntary bonding of doctors, nurses and midwives will be extended to rural vets.

This is one of the initiatives announced by agriculture spokesman David Carter  when he released the party’s agriculture policy today.

 

 It is envisaged that the cost of such a scheme would be in the order of $1.5 million in the first year, rising to $3 million in the second, and $4.5 million in the third year. The costs will be met by achieving savings within the existing funding for the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry.

Related initiatives include:

 

 * Consider the establishment of rural scholarships to encourage more students from rural backgrounds to study veterinary science.

* Work with Massey University, NZVA, veterinary professionals, and the wider rural sector to address the structural problems contributing to the rural veterinary shortage.

 

National will also take a less less bureaucratic approach to the funding of research & development.

 

Unlike Labour’s Fast Forward Fund, National’s policy locks in a consistent funding regime that doesn’t have the uncertainty attached to it that Labour’s model does.

National is committing $210 million to R&D over the next three years, while Labour is projecting a spend of about $135 million. National will wind up the Fast Forward Fund and:

* Establish an international centre for research into greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, at the cost of $20 million a year.

* Increase funding within Vote RS&T for primary sector and food research of $25 million a year.

* Increase funding for research consortia in the primary and food sectors of $25 million a year.

 

Tenure review has been a source of growing anger among pastoral lessees so National’s more balanced approach is welcome:

 

National is also supporting the principal of Tenure Review, but believes a new approach is needed to restore confidence in the process and ensure that the intent of the Crown Pastoral Land Act is fulfilled. National will:

 

* Implement voluntary, good-faith negotiations between run-holders and government.

* Ensure that the setting of high-country rentals is tied into the earning capacity of the farm property and is such that run-holders can continue to maintain properties at an acceptable level.

* Recognise that high-country run-holders can be as effective in their stewardship of the land as the Crown

The full policy is here.


Rural addresses don’t fit in boxes

02/09/2008

Mutter mumble.

I’ve just filled in an on-line form and for the umpteenth time have come across boxes which are designed for urban addresses not rural ones.

Our address used to just have an R.D. number and town; then we added a farm name; then came post codes and now NZ Post wants our RAPID number as well.

(R.D. stands for Rural Delivery, and isn’t a strange abbreviation for road as some people to whom I give my address think.

RAPID  stands for rural address property identification and that number may not be the same as that for the mail box because your number relates to the location of the drive to your hosue which isn’t necessarily where the mail box is.)

Anyway, none of the address details I need to give, except the post card, fits in to the street, suburb, city address boxes most forms have.

It probably doesn’t matter to the people who process the information but it’s an unpleasant, albeit petty, reminder that rural people are a minority and those in official places don’t realise their one-size fits all boxes don’t fit us.


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