I was struck by the sheer size of Fieldays at Hamilton when I visited yesterday. It’s truly extraordinary. It covers a huge area and is expected to be visited by over 130,000 people over its four days. It was also great to see the face of NZ agriculture at its finest – particularly as this year’s theme was innovation.
They even advertised my arrival. In Labour colours and font. Thanks to Tim MacIndoe who took the picture.
That event, and the MAF forecast of future prices is encouraging. Dairy, forestry, lamb are all set to rise. Even wool, which has been performing rather poorly is expected to rise over the next four years. That’s good news for the NZ economy.
I just hope it won’t be used as further proof by those who believe that shipping out commodities is our future.
We believe that at our peril. We need to be developing higher value products from our commodities, not just shipping ever larger quantities.
This was the message delivered in KPMG’s agribusiness report. It forecast increased demand for our commodities, but that demand is likely to be met with increased supply from Chile, Eastern Europe, China and others – some of our most welcomed exports is the farming expertise we’re delivering to less developed farmers in those countries.
Green, ethical, clean commodities from NZ will be our defining difference – and provide the premium – that our wealthier customers will be willing to pay. So too will be the new products that our R&D will create. They need to be sophisticated, clever, responding to our markets and with a low carbon footprint.
What we don’t want to do, with these optimistic forecasts is take our eye off that ball.