Week in Review

[11 March 2021]

After Dairy’s week in the spotlight last week, this week Red Meat hits the headlines in New Zealand. Stories include the sustainability of red meat in diets, Alliance Group’s $16m investment in Lorneville, and how Australia’s woes may be benefiting New Zealand’s sector as we hit almost $750m in exports in January 2021.

In International news, food security research puts NZ 13th of 113 countries for food security while global food waste is recorded to reach 900m tonnes. 

Spotlight Stories

Research and Development Spotlight


Gene editing vital for climate-proofing future crops - Research [4 March, NZ Herald]

Scientists at the University of Queensland have published a review for gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9, to safeguard food security in farming systems under stress from extreme and variable climate conditions. This new technology has the potential to protect 90% of the world’s food calories. Biosecurity and safety risk assessments of the technology are currently underway to allow the commencement of gene edited crops production in Australia.

Tag: Research & Development, Arable

International Spotlight

spotlight 2

Food waste: Amount thrown away totals 900 million tonnes [5 March, BBC News]

According to UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index, 17% of the food in shops, households and restaurants goes directly to the bin, with more than 900 million tonnes of food waste. UNEP executive director, Inger Andersen, points out that tackling waste "would cut greenhouse gas emissions, slow the destruction of nature through land conversion and pollution, enhance the availability of food and thus reduce hunger and save money at a time of global recession".

Tag: Food Security, International, Environment & Emissions

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

The world's top countries for food security [5 March, World Economic Forum]

According to the 2020 Global Food Security Index, global food security is continuing to diminish worldwide mainly due to intensive farming and climate change. Covid-19 has further aggravated the existing strains on the global food systems, which is detrimental to farmers’ success. The Global Food Security Index is based on 59 unique indicators and it measures the state of food affordability, availability, quality, safety and natural resources/resilience in 113 countries, of which New Zealand ranked 13th.

Tag: Food Security, International

headline 2

A dream deferred: Bean sales soar as shoppers seek nutrient-dense, plant-based & diet-friendly foods [5 March, Food Navigator]

According to SPINS data in 2021, dried pinto beans' sales increased by 453%, dry kidney beans by 232%, dry black beans by 207% and dry green pea, brown lentils and adzuki each by over 100% compared to last year. The increase in sales is due to consumers looking for more nutrient-dense and budget-friendly products during the ongoing pandemic. Kathryn Peters, executive vice president of business development, added that sales of shelf vegetables, tomatoes, grains, canned beans and peanut butter are also increasing.

Tag: International, Food Marketing, Health & Nutrition


Apple growers pulling out trees because there are not enough pickers for harvest [5 March, Stuff]

Yummy Fruit Company from Hawke’s Bay’ has down-sized their farmland to cope with the labour shortage as they lack 140 pickers and are expecting to lose more each week. General manager Paul Paynter says, “as a business owner you’re better off to be a little bit smaller and get the job done, rather than sticking your neck out and losing a lot.” This reduction in apple production will cost New Zealand’s economy NZ$100 million.

Tag: Horticulture, Rural Communities

Top stories

NZ wine making a splash overseas [4 March, Farmers Weekly]

In 2020, Delegat wine sales increased in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe by 7%, sales in the United States and Canada increased by 17% and sales dropped by 16% in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Delegat’s operating revenue, operating earnings before interest and tax, and net profit increased 9%, 21% and 25% respectively – increasing its share price by 46%.

Tag: Viticulture, International, Trade & Exports

Spotlight on local produce [4 March, Farmers Weekly]

Local food and beverage producers in the Canterbury region have been offered collaborative marketing and promotion opportunities with Enterprise North Canterbury’s new brand, Made North Canterbury. “We are sitting down with members on a one-to-one basis to understand what they want to achieve and helping to connect them with businesses in the region, such as restaurants and cafes, and also to market further afield” food and beverage development manager Alissa Wilson said.

Tag: Food Marketing, Rural Communities 

Greece helps fill the kiwifruit gap [4 March, Farmers, Weekly]

Greece is contributing to Zespri’s off-season market as they now account for approximately 35% of kiwifruit production in the Northern Hemisphere. “Greece is now growing more than Italy for Green. Its infrastructure, including for handling and cooling fruit, is just getting better and better” Zespri’s global supply manager Alastair Hulbert said. They are working closely with industry and grower groups in Italy to help improve orchard management, soil drainage and plant health.

Tag: Horticulture, International

Bees get a fighting chance [4 March, Farmers Weekly]

Researchers from Otago University have identified a compound that activates a cleaning response in bees. This discovery may help bees to eradicate the varroa mites within their hives. Without the compound applied to honeybee colonies, hives can die within two years. The researchers aim to develop a cheap and easy delivery system, allowing beekeepers to identify resistant colonies from which to breed.

Tag: Apiculture, Research & Development


Largest-ever kiwifruit harvest begins [4 March, Rural News]

The 2021 season for kiwifruit is forecasted to exceed last year’s record of 157 million trays of Green and Gold kiwifruit. Carol Ward, Zespri’s chief grower, industry and sustainability officer, stated that it is the industry’s ability to adapt and work closely together that led them to safely picking, packing and shipping a record-breaking crop of fruit last season - a result they are expecting to repeat this season. New Zealand has 2,800 kiwifruit growers across 13,000 hectares of land, and the peak-season is from mid-April until June.

Tag: Horticulture

Fonterra lifts milk price, set to contribute $11.5 billion to NZ economy [5 March, NZ Herald]

A strong demand for New Zealand’s dairy products from China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East has helped Fonterra Co-operative Group lift its 2020/21 forecast farmgate milk price range from NZ$6.90-7.50 per kg to $7.30-$7.90 per kg. This price range is the highest in Fonterra’s 20-year history and comfortably above Dairy NZ’s breakeven estimate of $5.80-$5.90/kg.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports

Prison inmates in South Otago skill up on dairy farm [4 March, NZ Herald]

To increase inmate employability upon release, the Department of Corrections allowed prison inmates in South Otago to work on a 135ha dairy farm with about 350 kiwicross cows. Tony Russell, Otago Corrections Facility principal instructor and farm manager, has been teaching the inmates since it opened in 2007, and they have never attempted to escape while working on the farm. He felt safer working on the farm than he did walking in central Dunedin at midnight, Russell said.

Tag: Agribusiness Education

Fonterra releases carbonzero certified organic butter [5 March, NZ Herald]

New Zealand Milk Products’ first certified cabonzero ingredient, organic butter, has been launched by Fonterra Co-operative Group. Independent certifier Toitū Envirocare, Kelvin Wickham, audited and verified the carbon emissions across the supply chain and said that carbonzero ingredients were important because they could help meet sustainability targets and demonstrate environmental values. They also grow brand preference and market share through differentiated products. Wickham reports that the butter is available in the US market and soon will be rolled out in other markets.

Tag: Food Marketing, Dairy, Environment & Emissions

Dr Jacqueline Rowarth: Why we should be using wool carpets [5 March, NZ Herald]

Dr Jacqueline Rowarth, Adjunct Professor Lincoln University, investigated the need to get rid of synthetic carpets. Rowarth thinks the environmental approach should be included in the petrochemical industry as a whole and not just to single-use plastic bags. Rowarth states that wool carpets account for only about 15% of the carpet market in New Zealand, despite being biodegradable and non-allergenic, removes carbon, doesn't release microplastic pollution, is fire retardant and is naturally resistant to stains and crushing.

Tag: Wool, Environment & Emissions, Policy and Regulation

NZ-grown grain project paying off [5 March, Farmers Weekly]

The Arable Food Industry Council launched its New Zealand-grown grain project in 2017 in hopes of increasing the use of NZ-grown grain. Its aim is to heighten consumer and end-user awareness of the benefits of using locally grown grain. United Wheat Growers chair Brian Leadley said, “we know we are producing some of the best quality and yields in the world, and we want to see our NZ consumers getting the benefit of that.”

Tag: Arable, Research & Development

PULSE: How Aussie’s pain benefits NZ [5 March, Farmers Weekly]

Due to various national emergencies, Australia’s capital stock of cows and sheep diminished to record lows in 2020. High costs of storing stock and cheap supplementary food costs are pushing Australian cattle buyers to kill heavier cows to recuperate margins. This is beneficial for New Zealand as it lessens competition within export meat markets and drives up NZ products' prices. However, NZ may now notice more competition with lambs as on-farm conditions are improving in the eastern states of Australia.

Tag: Red Meat, International, Trade & Exports

Lifting leadership skills of co-op leaders [5 March, Rural News]

Cooperative Business New Zealand (CBNZ) has expanded its governance training offering this year to help aspiring/future directors and current sitting directors have the right skills. CBNZ said, “the courses offered, in partnership with leading governance trainers, aim to address these issues to help governors be more effective board contributors.” Workshops, coaching, mentoring and remote learning are all included in the programme.

Tag: Agribusiness Education

Red meat sector exports reach $743.3 million in January 2021 [5 March, Rural News]

According to the Meat Industry Association, NZD$783.3 million worth of red meat and co-products were exported by New Zealand. Despite a 14% decrease from last year, China maintained its strong demand as the African Swine Fever decimated Chinese pig herds resulting in a surge in demand for other protein. Exported sheep meat to China increased by 10% and with NZD$14.1 million worth of imported tallow, China was the top tallow importer.

Tag: Red Meat, Trade & Exports

Massey School of Vet Science ranked in world top 20 [5 March, Rural News]

The new QS World University Rankings show that Massey University’s School of Veterinary Science is one of the top 20 universities worldwide. It moved from 28th in 2020 to 19th in 2021. Professor Jon Huxley, head of the School of Veterinary says “our graduates are known around the world for their practical skills and approach. At the same time, we have an excellent academic reputation amongst our peers and we are strong in veterinary research.”

Tag: Agribusiness Education, Animal Welfare

Role of meat production in sustainable nutrition [6 March, Stuff]

Public concern about food quality, production and sustainability is growing, particularly within New Zealand. Despite New Zealand lamb and beef production's carbon and water footprint being only one-quarter of the global average, farmers must also consider the nutritional impact their meat has on consumers. Many individuals are unaware that they are experiencing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. NZ scientists are currently working to compare the nutritional quality of pasture-raised beef and lamb with those that are grain-raised.

Tag: Red Meat, Environment & Emissions, Nutrition

Alliance Group invests $16m in warehouse technology at Lorneville [8 March, Stuff]

Alliance Group's NZD$16 million investment in a fully integrated storage and warehouse management system is expected to improve workers' health and safety at their plant in Lorneville, near Invercargill. It will introduce automation to the warehouse system and laser-guided vehicles to store and retrieve frozen products. Alliance Group chief executive David Surveyor said, "the Warehouse Management System will improve the health and safety of our people, enable the co-operative to further unlock advantages of scale and lift the efficiency and competitiveness of the plant."

Tag: Read Meat, Agritech

Comvita launches Special Reserve Manuka and OneHive movement [8 March, PR Newswire]

Comvita’s limited-edition Special Reserve UMF 25+ (MGO 1200+) has been launched and sells for $645 retail. As part of the launch, a global OneHive movement has been established. This aims to connect consumers from across the world and empower likeminded people to share and contribute to Comvita's passion for (and desire to protect) our natural environment. This movement celebrates the magic that takes place when nature is given the time and space to flourish – the beauty of the limited-edition Special Reserve UMF 25+ perfectly illustrates this.

Tag: Apiculture, Food Marketing

‘Concentration of power’: NZ Grocery Code of Conduct moves to parliamentary stage as suppliers fight for their rights [8 March, Food Navigator]

The NZ Food and Grocery Council has progressed their Grocery Code of Conduct to the parliamentary stage in hopes of providing a clearer framework for business dealings and negotiations in the grocery sector. “This is crucial in order to address potential abuses of market power towards the food and grocery manufacturers arising from New Zealand’s highly concentrated grocery market” NZFC Chief Executive Katherine Rich said. The United Kingdom established its code in 2009 and Australia established its own in 2014.

Tag: Policy and Regulation, Food Marketing

Forestry futures strengthened through training and jobs [8 March, Voxy]

There are career opportunities for the forestry sector through Te Uru Rākau’s programme delivering NZD$1.5 million into training and employment projects. This will help the sector meet its labour and skills gaps as it is expected that up to 5,000 forestry and wood processing workers are required by 2025. "The food and fibre sectors are a key driver for the New Zealand economy and it's a priority for the Ministry of Primary Industries to invest in projects that attract people to the sector” Acting deputy director general Henry Weston said.

Tag: Forestry, Training & Education

Ngāi Tahu takes stake in miniature apple company [8 March, Farmers Weekly]

Ngāi Tahu Holdings announced their additional 6% stake in a small apple company, Rockit Global, totalling to 15% after a successful capital raise. Both parties are pleased with this outcome due to their aligned goals and the strategic value in their relationship. “This opportunity will benefit both sides by providing Rockit with more capacity for future orchard developments, as well as further diversifying and increasing the growth profile of our portfolio,” Ngāi Tahu Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio said.

Tag: Horticulture, Agribusiness

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