Week in Review

[24 February 2022]

Today we’re releasing the new-look Field Notes page to deliver on your feedback from our last Field Notes survey.

Your favourite parts of Field Notes are our week in review and our top five stories, and you asked for easier access with less click-throughs.

Our new design gives you a single Field Notes page and instant links to the full articles – focusing on a more concise set of content.

We hope you enjoy our most recent updates as we continue to bring you the top insights and foresight from New Zealand and the world.

This week in New Zealand Fonterra announces plans for new investment into the Global Dairy Trade Auction from the NZX and EEX the same week as an announcement on phasing out of ‘bobby’ calves from all suppliers by June 2023.

In other domestic stories, Kiwifruit growers achieve a record harvest for the new Zespri RubyRed kiwifruit in its first commercial season; multiple exporters begin to charter their own private ships after significant ongoing disruption, and research highlights the numerous benefits of on-farm native planting.

Internationally, China’s seafood retail shows strong growth amid recent changes to covid measures with a 10% increase for the second half of 2021. We hear of the missing potential between New Zealand and India in trade talks, with negotiations falling well behind Australia. And key spotlight and headline stories explore the investment into food tech, China’s new gene editing approvals, and the harm of ongoing food subsidies. 

Foresight Focus Series

We’ve also swapped out our Article of the Week and Vodcasts of the week for a new Monthly Foresights Focus Series

Each month we’ll release a lunch piece which takes a key topic and explores the insights and collective foresight into some of the greatest challenges and opportunities in the sector. Our first foresight piece will be released next week – stay tuned

Spotlight Stories

International Spotlight:

Brief: Almost 1% of global GDP spent on ‘destructive’ ag, fishing & forestry subsidies each year [17 February, AgFunder Network]

A new report published by nonprofits The B Team and Business For Nature estimate that collectively governments spend at least US$1.8 trillion (equivalent to 2% of global GDP) annually on subsidies that are “driving the destruction of ecosystems and species extinction.” Stating, agriculture receives US$520 billion in “environmentally harmful subsidies” each year, runner up only to the fossil fuel industry at US$640 billion.

Tag: International, Trade & Exports

Research & Development Spotlight:

NIWA trials autonomous fish-counting vessel [22 February, Food Ticker]

NIWA scientists have completed their first successful deep-water test run for an autonomous vessel that uses artificial intelligence and a range of data gathering equipment to estimate the size of fish populations. Called Nemesis, the vessel was developed by X-craft enterprise, a New Zealand robotics company which hopes to routinely use the vessel to monitor fish within the next five years.

Tags: Fisheries 

Headline Stories

China’s approval of gene-edited crops energizes researchers [11 February, Nature]

It is reported that China issued preliminary guidelines for the approval of gene-edited crops last month, boosting research on tastier, pest-resistant, and climate-adaptable varieties. Though more conservative than the US and more lenient than the EU, researchers in China are excited to propose their ideas for government approval. However, some researchers have said the new guidelines are ambiguous and that further clarity around the rules is needed.   

Tags: International, Policy and regulation

Food tech saw $39.3B in VC investments last year, says PitchBook [17 February, Food Dive]

According to PitchBook’s annual report on investments, 2021 was a prosperous year for food tech companies seeing US$39.3 billion invested in 1,358 deals. Increased consumer interest in becoming vegetarians, vegans, or flexitarians and increasing consumer consciousness surrounding the potential health benefits and negative environmental impact of traditional foods systems are proposed to instigate this growth. Food Dive’s reporter Megan Poinski speculates that the “big money” following into this space is unlikely to stop, citing that already US$489.25 million has been invested in 2022 so far.

Tag: International, Agtech, Food innovation

RubyRed kicks off season’s harvest [18 February, Farmers Weekly]

Zespri’s new RubyRed variety heralds the start of an anticipated record-setting crop yield for the year. Initial estimates predict 190 million trays to be harvested this year, up from prior year’s record 177 million. Staffing issues as crops ripen are plaguing growers due to a 6500-person gap left by absent backpackers. However, chief executive of NZ Kiwifruit growers Colin Bond remains confident, stating, “This is our third season working with covid now; we know our protocols can work and are confident we can get through this one too.”

Tags: Horticulture, Trade & Exports

Get in touch

Audit – Auckland
Ian Proudfoot
09 367 5882
Management Consulting – Wellington
Justine Fitzmaurice
04 816 4845
Agri-Food – Auckland
Jack Keeys

09 363 3502
Private Enterprise – Hamilton
Hamish McDonald 

07 858 6519
Agri-Food – Auckland
Andrew Watene

09 367 5969
Consultant – South Island
Genevieve Steven

03 307 0761

Farm Enterprise – South Island
Brent Love

03 683 1871

Field Notes Administrator
Angelo Marundan
+64 9363 3624