Week in Review

This week in New Zealand we hear about the Covid-19 exemption scheme designed to support the sector through an acceleration of cases, a positive but slow rebound in New Zealand lobster exports, and growers measuring the recent damage of cyclone Dovi after it topples trees and strips fruit from branches.

Internationally, Italy’s parliament votes to include environment and animal protection in their constitution, UK builds out it’s international research network and  more businesses turn to biotechnology as a future innovation solution in food. 

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Spotlight Stories

Food Security Spotlight:

Highest monthly food price increase in five years [14 February, Rural News Group]

According to Statistics NZ, monthly food prices increased by 2.7% in January 2020, the highest rise since January 2017, with higher fruit and vegetable prices being the main contributor. After removing regular seasonal impacts, food prices rose 1.1%, fruit prices increased by 2.7% and vegetable prices were up 5.9%. Specifically, there were reportedly higher prices for broccoli, lettuce, apples, strawberries, and kiwifruit, which were partially offset by lower prices for beans, grapes, and courgettes.

Tag: Food Security

Environment & Emissions Spotlight:

Eradicating ‘extreme poverty’ would raise global emissions by less than 1%

According to a new study, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of “extreme poverty,” where they live on less than US$1.90 per day, would drive a global increase in emissions of less than 1%. It is reported that the average carbon footprint of a person living in sub-Saharan Africa is 0.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide, whereas the average US citizen produces 14.5tCO2 per year. “If we want to reduce our carbon emissions, we really need to do something about the consumption patterns of the super-rich,” the lead author of the study says.

Tag: International, Environment & Emissions            

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

Farmers to pay more for essential staff when the borders open [13 February, Stuff]

It is reported that farmers will have to pay essential workers up to NZ$40 an hour when the borders re-open as vaccinated skilled workers must be earning one and a half times the median wage. Federated Farmers national intensive winter grazing spokesperson Jason Herrick says, while farmers were being paid a bit more for some of their products they were also incurring huge increases in costs, and they could not afford to pay someone $40 an hour. “It’s just another attack on farmers and the primary sector,'' Herrick adds.

Tag: Farmers & Producers, Policy and regulation, Covid-19

headline 2

US consumer prices rise at fastest rate since 1982 [11 February, BBC News]

Price rises in the United States increased by more than expected last month as food and energy costs increased significantly, pushing annual inflation up to 7.5%, the highest rate since 1982. University of Michigan economist Betsey Stevenson said the "fundamental problem" was demand outstripping supply and "the central bank is going to deal with trying to constrain demand by raising interest rates.” On the other hand, the government is reportedly making investments to ease supply chain bottlenecks and has defended other policies to lower prices with increased competition.

Tag: International, Food security


58% of hospo owners preparing for insolvency – survey [15 February, Food Ticker]

As the Omicron wave crashes into New Zealand, Hospitality New Zealand stated that 58% of its 400 surveyed members claimed they were preparing for insolvency within three months. A secondary survey of 600 Hospitality New Zealand members found that half of the industry has seen a 40% or greater drop in revenue since New Zealand switched to the red setting. According to another survey, 43% of businesses will need to seek additional funding and 16% will need to take out new loans to get through the red setting.

Tag: Agribusiness, Covid-19  

Top stories

Forest 360 director Marcus Musson uses fun facts to dispel myths about log exports [10 February, NZ Herald]

Forest 360 director Marcus Musson addressed myths about exported logs and the lack of framing timber in New Zealand with “fun facts.” These fun facts include that the NZ supply shortage of timber is due to a lack of sawing and kiln drying capacity in NZ and not a result of log exports, log exports are just one part of the log (usually the lower value top half or less) that is produced and sold in the market, and forest owners, like every other private business, have the right to sell what they own to whoever they want - they are an investment, not a public good item.

Tag: Forestry, Trade & Exports

Covid 19 Omicron: New Zealand's lobster exports crawling back up [10 February, NZ Herald]

New Zealand rock lobster harvesters reportedly feel more confident with their sales as the lucrative Chinese market gradually reopens to the rest of the world. Lobster Exporters NZ chairperson Andrew Harvey said sales were disrupted but are looking good for next week's Lantern Festival despite Covid-19 lockdowns in China as the country aimed for something close to elimination. "We're not quite back to pre-Covid levels but things are better now than what they have been over the last couple of years,” Harvey adds.

Tag: Fisheries, Covid-19, Trade & Exports

Exemption scheme to keep sector running [10 February, Farmers Weekly]

The Government has announced a new close contact exemption scheme to help keep critical supply chains running if impacted by Omicron, allowing close contacts to keep going to work instead of isolating if they return a negative rapid antigen test. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins also confirmed guidelines for people who work alone such as farmers. These workers will be able to continue operating in a “bubble of one” if they are identified as a contact, he said. Critical services include food producers and its supply chain, health and emergency services and transport.

Tag: Policy and Regulation, Covid-19, Farmers & Producers

Consumer NZ finds some New Zealand olive oils to not be 100% local [12 February, NZ Herald]

Consumer NZ has caught Matapiro and Village Press, after investigating 20 brands, for advertising their products as being made with only New Zealand olives when they contain a blend of local and Australian olive oil. New regulations for fresh food reportedly go into force this week, making it easier for consumers to identify where some of their food comes from, but it does not cover olive oil. "We are asking for regulations to include all single-ingredient foods and olive oil falls into this category," a Consumer NZ spokesperson said.

Tag: Food Marketing, Policy and Regulation

The future of gas: chewing over the green-hydrogen cooked sausage [05 September, Stuff]

With its first zero-carbon, hydrogen-powered barbeque, Callaghan Innovation engineer Robert Holt explains that gas has a future beyond natural gas, a carbon-free future based on green hydrogen. Holt says if the cost of electricity goes down, then the price of green hydrogen should come down in about the same proportion. Additionally, in relation to the Hindenburg airship disaster in 1937, Holt argues hydrogen is the safest flammable gas as it is highly buoyant and disperses rapidly.

Tag: Agribusiness

Historic Vote for Animal in Italy [10 February, Compassion in World Farming]

For the first time, the Italian Parliament has reportedly agreed to put environmental and animal protection in the Italian Constitution, marking a historic step that is said to help improve the lives of millions of animals and preserve the environment.  "This is an amazing result,” says Annamaria Pisapia, Director of the Italian Office. “Because of this change, we will be able to reference the Italian Constitution when advocating for farm animals and call for an end to factory farming. It’s a huge step in the right direction.”

Tag: International, Animal Welfare, Policy and Regulation

Wood and dairy export paths to China eased in FTA developments [15 February, NZ Herald]

According to Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O'Connor, an upgrade to New Zealand's Free Trade Agreement with China comes into force in April, with new rules making exporting to China easier and reducing compliance costs by millions of dollars a year.  Once fully implemented, the upgrade will include eliminating tariffs on 12 different wood and paper products worth around NZ$30 million in trade to China. In addition, on January 1, most New Zealand dairy goods were granted duty-free entrance into China for the first time.

Tag: Trade & Exports

Bay of Plenty avocado, kiwifruit growers counting cost of Cyclone Dovi's winds [15 February, NZ Herald]

Cyclone Dovi has reportedly caused flooding, downed trees and cut power to homes, resulting in significant damage to some kiwifruit and avocado orchards in the Bay of Plenty. Bay of Plenty orchardist Hugh Moore said some avocado trees were completely uprooted by the wind, while others had lost branches full of fruit, affecting both new season fruit and the last of this season's crop. “It's not good, but that's life. If there's less kiwifruit hopefully the prices go up. That'll make up for the damage,” another orchardist Mark Hume said.

Tag: Horticulture, Environment & Emissions

Fieldays still on despite Omicron uncertainty [15 February, Farmers Weekly]

Organisers are reportedly moving forwards with plans to hold a physical Fieldays in June despite the uncertainty with Omicron. Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation says it will be crucial to see whether Omicron cases increase in March, as predicted by modelling, and subsequently fall and return to normal. Regardless, Nation expressed his gratitude to the government for revising and extending the event transition support payment plan, covering Fieldays in June. This concept was created to provide event planners with certainty while planning large-scale events.

Tag: Covid-19, Farmers & Producers

New layer to SIO’s Sara Lee, Original Foods group [15 February, Food Ticker]

Dessert and baked goods group Sara Lee and Christchurch-based Original Foods Baking Co have signed a new licensing agreement with Mondelēz International to extend its use of the brand on retail frozen dessert products, such as Cadbury Caramilk mousse cake. The three-year license increased to five-years but with the “opportunity to do a lot more potentially around foodservice and export should we need to,” says Original Foods chief executive Mark Mackaness. Under the licensing deal terms, Mondelez will reportedly get a percentage of net quarterly sales revenue.

Tag: Food Marketing  

Kerry building out biotech capabilities’ [15 February, Food Business News]

Kerry Group has announced an acquisition of Enmex, a Mexico-based enzyme manufacturer, and an agreement to complete another with c-LEcta, a Germany-based biotechnology innovation company. Both investments are reportedly expected to give Kerry a broader footprint in biotechnology and expand its expertise, technology portfolio and manufacturing capabilities. It is reported that Kerry acquired Enmex for approximately US$70.4 million and it is expected that the purchase price for c-LEcta will be approximately $137 million.

Tag: International, Biotechnology       

UK forges own global research network as EU starts South Korea and New Zealand Horizon talks [15 February, Science Business]

The UK has launched a research and development competition with South Korea as Belgium announced that it has entered official Horizon Europe association talks with South Korea and New Zealand. Under the terms of the UK-South Korea agreement, consortia of businesses from the two countries will reportedly compete for industrial research funds to address issues such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, batteries, and hydrogen. The UK is also reportedly ready to launch calls with Singapore for innovation projects in areas like cybersecurity, health and life sciences, and agri-food technology.

Tag: International, Research & Development, Trade & Exports       

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