New Zealand is hitting the mark in providing the world with high quality and safe food. Agcarm supports recent government proposals to boost this vital sector but warns of inefficiencies in the political system to enact them.
The new government’s support for a productive farming sector was underscored at the Primary Industries Summit by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern held late last year.
Being promised is an $84 million cash injection over the next two years and the progression of 22 key deliverables to accelerate the sector. Projects to increase horticultural and agricultural income by $44 billion in the next decade - valued at $262 million - are also in the pipeline.
Although this is welcome news, it means that there is a lot of work for industry and government to do to achieve these ambitious goals.
The framework must consider New Zealand's unique environment, fluctuating trade conditions, a declining labour force and consumers demanding healthy and safe food.
The agricultural and horticultural industries will no doubt be leading the charge for progressing these initiatives. Farmers, growers, industry groups, manufacturers and researchers will be delivering the sweat, tears and financial investment necessary. The question is whether the government can keep up with the acceleration. With regulations notorious for blocking progress, officials often hampered by Ministers, and senior leaders slow in decision-making, outputs could fall short and frustrations would soon follow.
Unnecessary barriers imposed on companies wanting to trial new and innovative crop protection products in containment, is one example. The benefits they offer New Zealand farmers and growers are amplified by the need to replace older, more hazardous products with newer, greener and softer solutions.
Sustainability, regenerative farming, health and wellness, and zero carbon economies are just some of the new ‘buzz’ topics. Encompassing all these is the need for sensible regulation led by science and facts, versus political interference.
Agcarm calls on the new government to front up on its boisterous support for agriculture by putting in the hard yards. Our industry is here to work with the government to increase production and ensure that our food remains healthy, safe and sought after by consumers from all around the globe.