Venkat Raman –
The ability to innovate, seek proper and enduring solutions to problems and resilience are some of the factors that contribute to the progress of New Zealand’s agricultural sector, an expert has said.
Simon Brown, General Manager, Accelerator Services, Callaghan Innovation, said that New Zealand has a unique faming and technological sector which complements each other for the overall benefit of the agricultural industry.
“Our farmers are business people and our scientists in the agricultural area are farmers. Our farmers are predominantly growers and our technologists follow them to understand their needs and expectations,” he said.
He was speaking at the Agri-Tech Summit organised by the India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) at Langham Hotel, Auckland on Monday, June 13, 2016.
“This involves working with them to identify their opportunities and barriers to growth including connecting them to the right technologies, talent and funding.”
Mr Brown said that New Zealand exports of agricultural, dairy, meat and other products currently feed about 40 million people in various parts of the world.
Growing global demand
This figure however pales with the existing global demand of about seven billion, slated to grow to 10 billion over the next 25 years.
“Agri Tech in New Zealand offers solutions to world problems through highly collaborate public and private sectors. Our farmers are unfettered by subsidises and focus on value. We have a proud history of bootstrapping,” he said.
Mr Brown however agreed that the size of farming geographic distance and limited output compared to growing world demand pose serious challenges.
“We still create impact in the markets in which we operate. However, we realise the need to be globally competitive,” he said.
Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew said that New Zealand is helping India to improve its food safety standards, increase yield from land and grow better crops.
She said that there are a number of areas in which New Zealand has been cooperating with India to promote its objectives of boosting agricultural output.
“Our apple industry is collaborating with a University in Himachal Pradesh to increase the quality and quantity of apple output. The project began in 2013 and has seen the value of apple output increase to US$ 534 million. This is set to rise to more US$ 2 billion by 2030,” she said.
Outlining the measures being taken by her government to promote agriculture, farming and related industries, she said that the establishment of the ‘New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre’ in Wellington in May 2016 as a partnership between government, industry organisations and research institutions.
“This is a virtual Centre that will see the best scientists around the country collaborating on work programmes that cut across different food and beverage sectors. It has been established in response to a key recommendation from the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident,” Ms Goodhew said.
She said that agritech will enable New Zealand to boost its productivity and exports.
ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley was the moderator of the Panel which comprised Gareth Evans, General Manager, Autogrow Systems, Ross Townshend, Chairman, RML Engineering, Earl Rattray, Representative, Engender Technologies and Dr Frank Scrimgeour, Director, Institute for Business Research, University of Waikato.
More than 200 people attended the INZBC Summit 2016, with its theme, ‘Growing for Tomorrow: Spotlight Agritech.’
The Summit preceded the annual four-day Fieldays, scheduled to be held from June 15 to June 18, 2016 at Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton.
INZBC hosted a dinner on Sunday, June 12, 2016 at Langham Hotel in honour of visiting officials of the government, trade associations and private sector entrepreneurs.
Picture taken at the dinner hosted by INZBC on June 12 shows (from left) Trade Commissioner (Delhi) Jane Cunliffe, Sudhanshu Pandey, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (National MP), Arvind Mehta (Lead Negotiator), Wenceslaus Anthony, Mark Trainor (Principal Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade) and Dr Parmjeet Parmar (National MP)