Week in Review

[08 July 2021]

This week has been one full of events and ceremonies, both new and old. The inaugural Primary Industries New Zealand Summit and Awards on the 6th and 7th of July in Christchurch. As well as the 53rd FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final from the 1st – 3rd of July. These events reflect the stories we are seeing in support of innovation and leadership by our food and fibre producers.

International stories this week span across Agri-tech, animal welfare as well as policy and trade topics. Pieces touch on animal welfare concerns with crocodile farming in Australia, the ability for phones to analyse food and the progress with EU trade talks.

Spotlight Stories

Agribusiness Spotlight

Govt invests in NZ Young Farmers [1 July, Farmers Weekly]


As part of the Governments support to grow and attract people into the food and fibre sector, they have contributed $1.76 million to New Zealand Young Farmers over three years through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund. That will be boosted by support of about $350,000 from DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and AGMARDT.” Says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The help from SFF Futures will enable New Zealand Young Farmers to transition to a more financially sustainable business model that delivers more support to its local clubs and members.” He said. 

Tag: Agribusiness, Farmers & Producers

Research & Development Spotlight

Have a good night’s sleep with Aotearoa New Zealand green kiwifruit [30 June, High-Value Nutrition]

A study examining the effects of green kiwifruit on sleep quality and the sleep-wake cycle in healthy males has been awarded funding of $31,800 over 12 months by the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) Ko Ngā Kai Whai Painga National Science Challenge. The study is being conducted by Riddet Institute-funded PhD candidate Alex Kanon, under the supervision of Dr Sharon Henare, Ngāti Whātua, Ngā Puhi, Senior Lecturer in the College of Health at Massey University, in collaboration with Zespri International Limited, who are providing contributions of fresh green kiwifruit. Dr Sharon Henare says “The anticipated outcomes may reveal the potential for the formulation of unique Aotearoa New Zealand kiwifruit-based products with health messaging related to sleep quality”

Tag: Research & Development, Horticulture, Food Innovation 

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

EU trade talks make headway [5 July, Farmers Weekly]

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor visited Brussels last month to progress trade talks with the European Union and says discussions were cordial, engaging and useful. According to the article Minister O’Connor was expecting an agricultural market access offer from the European Union to land in his inbox within the next few weeks. O’Connor says he was happy with the progress being made in other areas of the negotiation and was hopeful his recent discussions with Dombrovskis would spur the Europeans into making a more credible offer on agricultural market access for NZ exporters.

Tag: Policy & Regulation, Economics & Trade, International 

headline 2

Commodity prices hitting record levels, expected to stay 'stronger for longer' [2 July, Stuff]

Westpac senior Agri economist Nathan Penny says being a food producer was positive during Covid-19 as people still need to eat in times of crisis. According to the article, Global prices for New Zealand commodities as measured on the ANZ Commodity Price Index have lifted for eight consecutive months and hit a new record in May. Penny says staple foods like dairy performed better than premium products during the pandemic because people were cautious about spending their cash. Historically when prices rise, production steps up but that is not expected to happen this time around as environmental restrictions and higher grain prices constrain expansion. In red meat, Penny says farmgate lamb prices have been lifting over April and May at a time they normally fall, and he expects them to test $9 a kilogram, giving records a nudge around late spring when prices normally peak.

Tag: Agribusiness, Economics & Trade


Jake Jarman is the FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2021 [5 July, NZ Herald]

Jake Jarman has been crowned the 2021 FMG Young Farmer of the Year, representing the Taranaki/Manawatu region. Jarman, aged 24 is a relationship associate with ANZ and was the fifth generation to work his family dairy farm, and also worked as a farm systems research graduate with Dairy Trust Taranaki. Jake won a prize package worth over $75,000 which included a $15,000 cash prize from FMG, a Honda ATV, and a $30,000 package from New Holland. Joseph Watts, representing the East Coast Region was runner up, with third place going to Calvin Ball, who was representing the Northern Region.

Tag: Farmers & Producers

Top stories

Pork industry says 60,000 piglets could die if farrowing crates are banned [1 July, Stuff]

The government is currently reviewing the use of farrowing crates, following a High Court ruling last year which found certain regulations and minimum standards in the Pig Code of Welfare permitting the use of farrowing crates were unlawful. NZ Pork CEO David Baines told parliament’s production select committee that a phase out of the crates was a “significant concern” for the industry and estimated that a shift away from the farrowing crates for indoor farms could result in 60,000 piglet deaths every year.

Tag: Pork, Animal Welfare, Policy and regulation

Report shines a light on 'cruel farming' of Aussie crocodiles by French luxury brands [1 July, Voxy.co.nz]

Fashion Victims, a recent report by World Animal Protection Australia has exposed the extent of crocodile farming happening in Australia for the use of their skins in fashion items. According to the report, Hermès, the French luxury brand plans to expand their crocodile farming by up to 50,000 crocodiles. The global NGO has created a petition to stop such expansions and have received 1.1 million signatures so far.

Tag: International, Animal Welfare

East Imperial to complete $60m London listing - Food Ticker [5 July, Food Ticker]

East Imperial, the Auckland-based premium mixer company is set to list on the London Stock Exchange after a reverse takeover which values it at almost $60m. The deal with London-based special acquisition vehicle Bermele PLC also saw East Imperial raise $5.91m of new funds by placing 30 million shares at 10p (20c) a share. The capital will be used to fund growth plans at the company led by Anthony Burt, which produced and marketed 11 branded premium mixers in Asia Pacific, the US and now has plans to take on market leader Fever Tree in the UK.

Tag: Agribusiness

Raglan Food Co aims for change one plant-based product at a time [1 July, Food Ticker]

Raglan Food Co, formerly known as Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, is on a path to change the world one plant-based product at a time, says co-founder Latesha Randall. In November 2020, the organisation moved into a new 800 square-metre factory at Nau Mai Industrial Park, which tripled the company’s production capacity. By February, Raglan Food Co expanded from original plant-based yoghurt range to include kefir drinking yoghurt. The company is setting its sights on the Asia Pacific market, as it sees the potential to supply its plant-based products to the lactose intolerant consumers.

Tag: Alternative Proteins, Food Innovation

Machine learning aids insights into cows’ sleep (and welfare) [30 June, Voxy.co.nz]

AgResearch and Scotland’s Rural College in Edinburgh have recently published research about machine learning models and its use in understanding sleep patterns of cows, enabling insight into cow welfare. According to the article, measurements of neck muscle activity and heart rates from six cows were taken, with machine learning models applied to make predictions about what the muscle and heart rate data meant for the cows during different sleep stages. This research is now destined to be scaled up

Tag: Research & Development, Animal Welfare

East Imperial to complete $60m London listing - Food Ticker [5 July, Food Ticker]

East Imperial, the Auckland-based premium mixer company is set to list on the London Stock Exchange after a reverse takeover which values it at almost $60m. The deal with London-based special acquisition vehicle Bermele PLC also saw East Imperial raise $5.91m of new funds by placing 30 million shares at 10p (20c) a share. The capital will be used to fund growth plans at the company led by Anthony Burt, which produced and marketed 11 branded premium mixers in Asia Pacific, the US and now has plans to take on market leader Fever Tree in the UK.

Tag: Agribusiness

OIO greenlights A2 Milk's $268m Mataura deal [6 July, Food Ticker]

A2 Milk Company says that the Overseas Investment Office has given approval for its proposed $268.5m purchase of a 75% interest in Southland dairy nutrition business Mataura Valley Milk. The transaction is due to complete at the end of July, where Mataura Valley Milk’s current majority shareholder will retain a 25% stake in the business. A2 Milk said the deal would provide the opportunity “to participate in the nutritional products manufacturing, provide supplier and geographic diversification, and strengthen its relationship with key partners in China”

Tag: Agri-business, International

B+LNZ’s Marsh appointed Agmardt GM [1 July, Food Ticker]

Lee-Ann Marsh is joining Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (Agmardt) as the organisation’s newly appointed General Manager. She joins from Beef + Lamb New Zealand, where she has held the title of global market innovation manager since February 2017. Lee-Ann brings a wealth of knowledge, working in the FMCG, healthcare and technology sectors in Toronto and London, before working with Fonterra and Nestlé. She will take over from Malcolm Nitschke, who resigned in April and leaves the organisation in August after close to 9 years of service.

Tag: Agribusiness

Vanilla Vida: How smart farming can help ensure a stable supply of natural vanilla  [2 July, Food Navigator]

Israeli start-up Vanilla Vida is using climate-controlled greenhouses to meet their customer’s needs for a stable supply of vanilla. Rather than growing vanilla as it would naturally in tropical regions, greenhouse-controlled cultivation allows for higher yields with shorter growing cycles. Pollination in the greenhouse is done through a combination of natural and robotic methods, helping lower the cost of production according to the article. The organisaiton aims to become the ‘largest growing and processing player of dried vanilla in the world’ within the next three to four years. They hope to partner with farmers in joint ventures, with farmers licensing data, protocols and seedlings and growing vanilla in their own greenhouses.

Tag: Agri-tech, International

Could food analysis via smartphone alone become a reality? [2 July, Food Navigator]

Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems (ENAS) are developing a componentry that will be integrated into smartphones, enabling them to check the microbial decomposition of food or to detect pollutants in food. Spectrometers are presently used in testing air quality and detecting pollutants in water by emitting light beams in the infrared range and measuring the amount of light that reaches the detector, and then analysing that information. According to the article, these devices can weigh several kilograms and cost thousands to develop. This new cell phone component aims to be developed using conventional technologies, costing €1 and weighing just one gram.

Tag: Agri-tech, International

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

Survey shows UK consumers want food wrapped in compostable packaging [1 July, Food Navigator]

A new survey of 2,085 UK Adults finds that most of the British public want to get rid of plastic packaging on food and have compostable packaging instead. The survey was commissioned by TIPA Corp, an Israeli biodegradable packaging manufacturer. The study comes as the UK Government plans to roll out a Plastic Packaging Tax, set to launch in in April 2022. The survey found that 83% of the respondents are supportive of a tax on plastic packaging to lower plastic waste. TIPA said that the proposed tax currently treats compostable packaging as if it were traditional polluting plastic. According to TIPA, this differs from countries such as Italy, Ireland and Japan, which all work to promote the use of compostable materials.

Tag: Policy and regulation, Food Marketing, International

Primary sector collaboration 'powers economic prosperity' [5 July, Voxy.co.nz]

The Trust Alliance New Zealand (TANZ) consortium is building New Zealand’s digital infrastructure which will be owned and governed by the community. New Zealand farmers, producers, growers, processors, service providers, exporters, retailers and consumers can easily capture, protect and share trusted data. TANZ says that less than eight months after its launch, it now collectively connects with over 100,000 farms. This means TANZ has the potential to digitally connect with all farms in New Zealand. The technology has a range of practical applications that could solve issues relating to biosecurity and product recall, environmental impact and sustainability practices, animal welfare, provenance and fraud prevention as well as compliance. The intention is to empower both industry and consumer. A collaboration between TrackBack, Potatoes New Zealand, Onside and Karapoti Consulting will demonstrate the power of digital identity as a permissioned and authorised data sharing solution, without the need to give away data unnecessarily.

Tag: Agri-tech

Agribusiness Report: Could avocados be NZ's next super crop? [2 July, NZ Herald]

David Hughes, CEO of Plant and Food Research says that avocados have the potential to join the league of kiwifruit and apples and become the next superfruit. Hughes says "What would really make a difference (to the industry) is to have more exemplars like kiwifruit and apples where a broad-based investment in science and technology was translated through to significant economic, environmental and social outcomes," The article details numerous tier two crops which could benefit from similar learnings, including berries, cherries, hops, onions, potatoes and vegetable seeds. According to the article, New Zealand's horticulture exports grew in value by almost 300 per cent between 2000 and 2020, earning $6.6 billion a year and accounting for 11 per cent of merchandise exports. Hughes says apples and kiwifruit are the leaders of the pack with $2.5b of growth between the two.

Tag: Horticulture

A2 poaches Danone marketing lead [2 July, Food Ticker]

Edith Bailey is joining the A2 Milk Company as its new Chief Marketing Officer, leveraging her background in infant nutrition marketing. Edith joins the organisation from European food giant Danone where she was consumer marketing director for Australia New Zealand with Danone Nutricia’s Specialised Nutrition division. A2 Milk said Bailey will manage the strategic and creative direction of the brand, developing integrated marketing programmes and leading consumer insights and product innovation.

Tag: Dairy, Agribusiness

Meet the students on a mission to save the wool industry [6 July, Nz Herald]

Young Enterprise Group “Under the Door Enterprises” have been inspired to help save the wool industry after a visit from The Wool Shed, which is part of the wool in school’s initiative. The group is made up of Year 13 agribusiness students from Kavanagh College, and are the creators of the “Woolly Wedge”.  "During Covid alert level 3, the doors at Kavanagh College High School classrooms were kept open for hygiene purposes, and our standard wedge – wooden ones – were not sufficient to actually keep the doors ajar," said the group's Agribusiness teacher Jill Armstrong said. Their wedge is made of woollen carpet offcuts, recycled timber and rubber. It is now stocked in the local Mitre 10 and had already sold 2000 units.

Tag: Wool, Farmers & Producers, Rural Communities

Local Focus: From waste to taste [6 July, NZ Herald]

In an effort to curb the food going to landfills, Kai Ora has formed a food rescue organisation to develop kai hub, diverting food from going to landfill. With support from Whanganui District Council and the community, the organisers recently completed a feasibility study looking at better ways to deal with Whanganui's perishable food waste. The group recently invited the community to a "feasible feast" where they cooked, fed and redistributed 80kg of food, all collected from local businesses. The Kai Hub is an idea they would like to continue and expand on.

Tag: Rural Communities 

Global dairy prices pushing up cost of cheese [4 July, RNZ]

According to Fonterra, since the global pandemic, there had been a significant increase in demand for cheese in New Zealand and globally. A 1kg block of tasty cheese is now selling for between $16 and $18 at the main supermarket chains. Fonterra said that global cheese prices had jumped 15 percent over the last year. The rising price of dairy products has resulted in some foodbanks no longer receiving regular donations of milk and cheese to give to those most in need.

Tag: Dairy, Economics & Trade

Lion claws back carbon emissions [5 July, Food Ticker]

Lion, the Australasian brewer who is responsible for some of New Zealand’s loved local brands of beers and international favourites says that it has made steady progress against its sustainability targets. Its recently published 2020 sustainability report, details that packaging now comprised 45%-49% of recycled material, against its target of at least 50% by 2025. On climate change, Lion said it was working towards a goal of a 55% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 – from an FY19 baseline – and gave itself a green light representing “well progressed” for a 14% reduction in full year 2020. The organisation also set a new goal this year, committing to a net-zero value chain by 2050.

Tag: Agribusiness, Environment & Emissions

Not just bread and milk - Goodman Fielder targets 'big five' ingredients for growth [6 July, Food Ticker]

Goodman Fielder is one of the country’s leading suppliers of bread and dairy products to foodservice but following its 100% acquisition by conglomerate Wilmar International in 2019 it has been eyeing a push into ingredients according to Food Ticker. Lead marketing manager of route foodservice marketing, Tina Clyma discusses the big five ingredients, which are flour, rice, sugar, baking fat and oil. According to Tina, Wilmar already produces these ingredients and bought Goodman Fielder as part of their strategy to own every part of the value chain. The ingredient side of the business is growing, with work being conducted in the last 8 months and reaching a split of 90% product and 10% ingredients.

Tag: Agribusiness

Zespri falls short in China trial vote [2 July, Farmers Weekly]

Zespri has received the final results of the grower vote to continue with limited trials of SunGold fruit already being grown illegally in China. According to the article, 64.1% of growers voted, with 70.5% support to carry out a one-year orchard and marketing programme with the fruit. However, in order to action the one-year trial, the organisation required 75% grower approval. Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson says “We will continue to explore our options and engage on the issue and find an alternative way forward. As part of this Zespri has a range of initiatives under way in China. This includes our R&D partnerships, our efforts to understand the local production and supply chain environment and our engagement with the Chinese kiwifruit industry and government,”

Tag: Agribusiness, Horticulture, Economics & Trade

B+LNZ launches emissions calculator [1 July, Farmers Weekly]

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has released a free-to-use emissions calculator, which takes information about a farm and stock numbers and applies science and data about average emissions at national, regional and farm system level to calculate on-farm emissions and sequestration. It has been funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership and endorsed by numerous organisations operating in the industry. According to B+LNZ CEO Sam McIvor says the calculator has been independently assessed as meeting the requirements for calculating emissions. The calculator can e found on the B+LNZ website.

Tag: Red Meat, Environment & Emissions

Get in touch

Audit – Auckland
Ian Proudfoot
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Hamish McDonald 

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Andrew Watene

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Angelo Marundan
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