Food for Thought

Food for Thought

With the Ministry for Primary Industries seeking to lift the productivity and profitability of New Zealand’s primary sector and double export returns by 2025, Country looks at some of the value-add challenges we face.

While in international terms New Zealand has a strong pastoral agricultural advantage underpinned by good science and research, lifting the productivity and profitability of our primary sector lies in leveraging further off these strengths and capabilities – without any degradation of the country’s natural resources.

Discussions around the value chain and whether New Zealand can expand its economy by further processing the food products we already produce, has largely centred on the dairy industry, although other sectors – like meat and horticulture – are just as relevant and topical.

Lincoln University honorary professor of agri-food systems and agri-consultant, Keith Woodford says the issues and strategies are different for each of these sectors and the topic as a whole is a complex one.

Woodford talked to Country specifically about the dairy industry and says if New Zealand is to capture the add-value opportunities present in the global dairy sector, it needs to build non-seasonal capacity into the industry.

“Our seasonal system becomes an increasingly important constraint when looking to diversify to products other than whole milk powder,” he says.

“For many decades we have supplied long-life commodities into the international market and that has worked very well for us.


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