Week in Review

[01 July 2021]

This week we see a variation of stories across New Zealand, from strong lamb dairy and kiwifruit demand, to honey awards and reactions to the sudden fruit sticker ban.

Food security dominates international stories with google launching a new search tool for finding food services, anti-obesity drives in the UK, and over one million people from Madagascar pushed to starvation from effects of climate change. 

Article of the Week

This week, read the reflections of KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness and Lead Author of the Agribusiness Agenda, two-weeks after the documents launch.

You can access the article here.

Spotlight Stories

Biosecurity Spotlight

Tomato disease halts New Zealand exports to six countries [28 June, NZ Herald]

The Pepino mosaci virus (PepMV), which can affect the yield of plants and delay fruit growth, was first found in an Auckland greenhouse in April and has stopped tomato exports to six countries. The virus is highly contagious and can be spread on crates, tools, clothing, and by bumble bees but “does not present any food safety concern or risk to people” said The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) response controller David Yard. MPI had temporarily suspended export certification to six countries that consider PepMV a quarantine risk but tomatoes can still be exported to other countries.

Tag: Biosecurity, Horticulture

Food Security Spotlight

Google launches new search tool to help combat food insecurity [29 June, The Verge]

Google has announced the ‘Find Food Support’ site which aggregates 90,000 locations across the US that provide free food support and includes a food locator tool powered by Google Maps. An estimated 1 in 7 Americans experienced food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tag: International, Food security

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

Growing food from air ‘more efficient’ than growing crops, study finds [23 June, Food Navigator]

A team of researchers from several institutions across Europe compared the efficiency of growing soybeans with a food-from-air technique. They have claimed that growing food from air is 10 times more efficient than growing soybeans in the ground. The researchers said, “the cultivation of microbial biomass… can play a vital role in achieving food security while mitigating the negative environment footprint of agriculture.” They added that the commercial viability of air-grown food is likely to improve as land resources become scarce and conventional food sources become increasingly expensive and unsustainable.

Tag: International, Agritech, Research & Development

headline 2

Urea prices hit 10-year high [29 June Farmers Weekly]

The price of Urea has risen to a high of $799 per tonne, reaching a 10-year high. The rapid increase in price has been driven by increasing energy costs and growth in demand around the world. Both Ravensdown and Balance have increased prices across their product ranges.

Tag: Environment & Emissions


New Aussie farm visas could spell more trouble [29 June, Rural News Group]

Australia is intending to release a new farm work visa by the end of 2021, extending visa opportunities 10 ASEAN countries. Included amongst these 10 countries is the Philippines, which accounts for many of New Zealand’s dairy farm workers and it is expected that Australia may now be a more attractive opportunity for those seeking overseas farm work opportunities.

Tag: Policy & regulation, Rural Communities

Top stories

Farmers, tractors, and tradies expected at 'ute' protests around the country [26 June, Stuff]

Farmers nationwide are being encouraged to take their tractors and dogs to town next month in a show of protest against “Government interference in your life and business, unworkable regulations and unjustified costs.”  Groundswell NZ spokesperson Bryce McKenzie said farmers are now dealing with new freshwater regulations, winter grazing rules and indigenous biodiversity regulations. McKenzie hoped tradies will also join the protests as they are now being penalised if they want to upgrade their utes.               

Tag: Policy and Regulation, Farmers & Producers, Environment & Emissions

AI tech Cropsy cultivates data to help wine growers make better decisions [June 28, Stuff]

Cropsy, an invention from a team of young Auckland tech engineers, can now count bunches of grapes on vines and detect disease and pest problems with further trials expected during the 2021-22 growing season. The Cropsy camera unit mounted on the front of a tractor allows growers to monitor every plant, understand the whole crop and track how it changes over time. Cropsy Technology co-founder Leila Deljkovic says “our point of difference is that we are focused on something that delivers a solution to multiple challenges, it has to, otherwise growers won’t use it.”

Tag: Agritech, Viticulture 

Daily food audit could provide evidence people need to stop tossing out kai [27 June, Stuff]

It is reported that a “food waste audit” and learning to eat with the seasons could be an easy fix to reduce the 45,000kg of kai tossed out of Hamilton homes each month. The Rabobank-KiwiHarvest Food Waste Research found Kiwis were reducing food waste but the estimated value of food thrown out increased to NZ$2.4 billion per year. Jacinda Ardern said the Government has a “range of initiatives” to tackle food waste, including improving roadside collection of household food waste, developing food waste reduction targets and more.

Tag: Food security, Environment & Emissions

Dairy demand set to stay [28 June, Farmers Weekly]

According to Fonterra Co-operative chief operating officer Fraser Whineray, strong demand for dairy looks to continue as the global economy resumes its rebound from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The demand includes the co-operative’s China market, which took about one-third of its milksolids as the Chinese government recommended people to increase their daily dairy consumption as a way of increasing their daily health. Additionally, yoghurts and probiotic products are a key component of this demand as there was a six-fold increase of probiotic sales to China last year.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports

Store lamb prices skyrocket [25 June, Farmers Weekly]

According to AgriHQ senior analyst Suz Bremner, male and ewe lambs between 32-34kg sold for an average of $4.80/kg, which is NZ$1.40/kg higher than the five-year average. Central Hawke’s Bay farmer Richard Ellis said recent rain in Hawke’s Bay is being complemented with weather warm enough for grass growth, which is giving farmers some certainty around feed. Additionally, Manawatū farmer and stock agent Dave Wright agrees that the current high prices are because of contracts being offered by meat companies.

Tag: Red Meat

What Kantar’s list of most valuable global brands tells us about food and beverage trends [24 June, Food Navigator]

Kantar's latest ranking of the world's largest food and beverage brands reveals the shift in consumer behaviour towards indulgence during lockdowns. Kantar chief growth officer Jane Bloomfield said, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Pepsi and Diet Coke remained high in the rankings but the new entrants such as Lindt and Oreo showed a swing in consumer behaviour. Additionally, it is reported that beverage brands continue to dominate the top 20 and that there is growing dominance of US and Chinese brands in the global food and beverage space.

Tag: International, Food Marketing

Cocuus: Alt meat and fish start-up develops ‘disruptive’ 3D printing tech [22 June, Food Navigator]

A Spanish start-up, Zaratiegui, is analysing the morphological structure of foods to reconstruct meat and fish from plants and cells and ultimately feed more people with fewer resources. Currently, its Cocuus technology transforms purées into dishes resembling real food to target nursing homes and hospitals, and is now also developing its own bio-printing tech to ‘morphological’ shape meat and fish products. From the analyses they “develop mathematical models that allow us to not only reconstruct them, but to do so in a scalable way” Zaratiegui said.

Tag: International, Alternative Proteins

Fruit sticker ban comes as a surprise to industry [28 June, Stuff]

The 2023 deadline to phase out the use of plastic fruit stickers has come as a surprise to the fruit-growing and packaging industry. Packaging manufacturer Jenkins Freshpac said the 2023 timeline for stickers, used to brand and otherwise identify produce, is too short despite working closely with the Government during the consultation process. However, Environment Minister David Parker explained the timing of the ban was intended to strike a balance between the public's call for action and the need for businesses to seek alternatives.

Tag: Policy and Regulation, Horticulture

Forest & Bird report highlights pest losses [29 June, Farmers Weekly]

The Forest & Bird report ‘Protecting Our Natural Ecosystems’ Carbon Sinks’ has identified that up to 17.5m tonnes of CO2 per year could be sequestered if forests were protected from pest damage. The midpoint of the research estimated a saving of 8.4m tonnes, equivalent to 60% of all New Zealand’s vehicle emissions. 24% of the country’s native forest area is estimated to be owned by drystock farms.

Tag: Forestry

Covid boosts kiwifruit demand [29 June, Rural News Group]

Zespri is estimating to receive a total supply of 20 million trays higher than last season, reaching 175 million trays for this season. Demand has remained strong in all of Zespri’s major Asian and European markets, supported by consumers seeking healthy foods through Covid-19. Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson advised that logistics have been the most challenging part of the season, with delays ranging from 5-15 days to deliver product into market. 

Tag: Horticulture, Covid-19

Apiculture NZ National Honey Competition names top producers [29 June, NZ Herald]

The Apiculture New Zealand National Honey Competition hosted in Rotorua has presented the 2021 Supreme Award winner to Jarved Allan of 100% Pure New Zealand Honey. The 12 main prize categories included liquid honey, naturally granulated honey, creamed honey, honeydew and cut comb.

Tag: Apiculture, Honours & Awards

Rockit 'on a roll': 40,000 apple trees and 20 jobs for Gisborne [29 June, Voxy]

Rockit Global Limited (RGL) is planting 20 hectares of its mini apple in Gisborne. This is prior to an additional 45 hectares where further plantations are expected later in 2021. The additional fruit from expanded operations in Gisborne will be packed at Te Ipi, Rockit’s new 2100m2 packhouse and coolstore.

Tag: Horticulture, Rural Communities

NCEA subject changes: Ministry looks to add agribusiness [24 June, RNZ]

The Ministry of Education has proposed a new agribusiness programme as a separate subject to business studies. The proposed change is part of a suggested overhaul of NCEA and expected to recognise learning that is already happening in schools. The ministry hopes to have the NCEA subject changes rolled out in schools in 2024.

Tag: Agribusiness Education

Anti-obesity drive: Junk food TV adverts to be banned before 9pm [25 June, BBC]

The UK Government is imposing a national ban on TV adverts before 9pm for food that is high in sugar, salt and fat. The ban will include products such as chocolate, burgers, soft drinks, ice cream and chips but will not affect companies with fewer than 250 employees. Over 60% of the adult population of the UK is now classed as overweight or obese.

Tag: International, Food Marketing

Climate change has pushed a million people in Madagascar to the 'edge of starvation,' UN says [23 June, CNN]

The African island of Madagascar has seen 1.14 million people pushed ‘right to the very edge of starvation’ reportedly due to climate change. Executive Director of UN’s World Food Programme David Beasley stated “"I met women and children who were holding on for dear life, they'd walked for hours to get to our food distribution points. These were the ones who were healthy enough to make it," Beasley said. Beasley commented that these families are suffering the most severe effects of climate change, despite being an area of the world that has contributed nothing towards it.

Tag: International, Food security

Trepidation’ despite boost to harvest [25 June, Otago Daily Times]

While New Zealand’s viticulture sector fell 19% across the country, Central Otago has achieved a 21% harvest increase over the previous vintage. This years crop was 370,000 tonnes of grapes, with the supply shortfall the equivalent of 63 million litres and expected to lead to demand tensions.

Tag: Viticulture, Covid-19

Tahi Manuka Honey Named Best Luxury Honey in the World [28 June, Global Newswire]

The Luxury Lifestyle Awards has names Tahi Honey as the ‘Best Luxury Manuka Honey’ in the world. The prize winners were praised for the “biodiversity-positive production processes and the company’s determined focus on sustainability, as well as its unique taste and texture profile -- rich and golden, smooth and creamy, sweet yet mild.” As noted by the competitions judges.

Tag: Apiculture, Honours & Awards

Weaponizing Science in Global Food Policy [25 June, IPS News]

The United Nations will be hosting a two-day ‘Science Days’ in July 2021 with the goal of “highlighting the centrality of science, technology and innovation for food systems transformation”. There has been criticism of the UN Food System Summit for being non-transparent and that science has been weaponised to fragment global food security governance.

Tag: International, Food security

Get in touch

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