Week in Review

In Aotearoa, with food prices 12.1% higher than last year, and annual consumer inflation likely to remain at 7%, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins was asked whether the Government would remove GST from fresh food. Hipkins said this would be quite a complex change, so it would likely take time to implement and therefore wasn’t an option between now and the election. Live animal exports by sea are concluding at the end of this month, with the last shipment leaving Napier this week, taking 5600 cattle to China. Live exports have been phased out over the last two years since a ban was announced in 2021. As a result, some companies in the industry are heading to Australia to trade there. Air New Zealand is looking for New Zealand-made snacks to revamp and expand its in-flight offerings. Expressions of interest close on the 1st of May, with judges looking for snacks with attributes that celebrate history, provenance, sustainable packaging and ingredients, and taste.

In international news, the world’s second-largest rice buyer, the Philippines, which currently imports more than 3 million tonnes of rice annually, has announced it aims to be self-sufficient in rice by 2027. To achieve this, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration has listed climate change adaptation and digital technology as key strategies to grow production. The Norwegian Seafood Council reported that their exports to China exceeded 35,000 tonnes, achieving 18% growth in the first quarter of this year. CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council, Christian Chramer, said this result and the strong future outlook are due to the vitality and energy in the Chinese retail and food service channels. In food innovation news, chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut has released ruby baking chocolate chips into the North American market. Ruby chocolate is rose-coloured and tastes fruity. According to Barry Callebaut’s 2023 Top Chocolate Trends report, half of North American consumers want chocolate to feel fun and adventurous, which ruby chocolate can provide.

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Spotlight Stories

Farming Systems Spotlight


Women’s equality in agrifood systems could boost the global economy by $1 trillion, reduce food insecurity by 45 million: new FAO report [13 April, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations]

A new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has revealed that women earn 82 cents for every dollar that men earn in agriculture employment. Globally 36% of working women are employed in agrifood systems. The report highlighted that women's roles are often marginalised, with typically worse working conditions than men such as being irregular, informal, low-skilled or labour intensive. They also have less secure tenure over land, less access to credit and training, and work with technology designed for men. These inequalities create a 24% gender gap in productivity between women and male farmers on equal sized farms. The study states that addressing gender inequalities in agrifood systems would increase global gross domestic product by nearly US$1 trillion and reduce the number of food-insecure people by 45 million.

Tags: Farming Systems, Economics & Trade

Economics & Trade Spotlight


China trade somewhat changed after covid [18 April, Farmers Weekly]

According to a report by the NZ Consulate-General in Shanghai, business between New Zealand and China is returning to pre-Covid levels as China lifts its last Covid restrictions. However, the report cautions that NZ’s largest export market has changed, with digital e-commerce channels growing in popularity, but bringing drawbacks such as greater expense, and lower margins for sellers. The report notes that while big box retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club are increasing in popularity with Chinese supermarkets replicating them, many smaller retailers closed or became e-commerce outlets exclusively due to the pandemic. Additionally, Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious, with environmental sustainability growing in prominence too. Chinese supply chains have been rapidly improving, with the report noting that port access and processing have returned to normal. Airline capacity on the Auckland-to-Shanghai route is increasing as demand grows for business travellers and tourists, and the need for a negative PCR test has been lifted

Tags: Economics & Trade

Headline Stories

Apple of their eyes: Fruits of labour help cyclone recovery [16 April, RNZ]

The post-settlement governance entity for Te Rohe o Te Wairoa, Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa, has begun harvesting its first commercial apple orchard and plans to donate its first fruits to the community pātaka (pantry) to support whānau affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. Up to 16 rangatahi cadets have been provided jobs through the 2D orchard, where picking is not done on ladders, but eventually on platforms (as the trees grow). The entity plans to plant up to 530 hectares of fruit, which it expects will add NZ$10 million annually to the town’s economy. Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa also has plans to build 500 new homes over the next ten years, provide jobs and trade training, and bring their people back to the area. 

Tags: Horticulture

Cust farming couple’s subsurface drip irrigation trial gains momentum [17 April, The Country]

Dairy grazers, Gary and Penny Robinson, are advancing their Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) trial following positive feedback at two recent field days they held on trial blocks in Cust, North Canterbury, and Maniototo, Central Otago. The difference between the test block using subsurface irrigation and the adjacent block using traditional irrigation was evident for the farmers and industry partners who attended the field days. The low-pressure SDI system saves water, power, and improves crop yields by applying water directly to the root zone of the crop rather than at the soil surface, therefore eliminating surface water evaporation and reducing the incidence of weeds and disease. The couple is participating in Next Generation Farming, a project which aims to help farmers maintain their business viability and meet strict nitrate caps. The Robinsons are now working to gather data proving the benefits of the subsurface drip irrigation system, and exploring opportunities for the SDI system using for wastewater. 

Tags: Farmers & Producers

Sweet little orbs of good taste: Marlborough pine nuts scoop prestigious food prize [19 April, RNZ]

Marlborough's Pinoli Premium Pine Nuts has won the supreme champion title at the 2023 Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Awards beating nearly 300 competitors. Judges praised Pinoli’s pine nuts' flavour, aroma, and freshness. They are the only pine nut producer in the southern hemisphere. Pinoli's founders, Andy Wiltshire and Lee Paterson, planted their first orchard of Mediterranean stone pines in 1998, the trees require eight to ten years before they can be first harvested. Today, their orchards have over 500,000 trees covering 540 hectares. The company built a high-tech processing plant in 2013, which extracts and prepares the nuts for sale locally and internationally. 

Tags: Food Marketing 

Get in touch


Audit – Auckland
Ian Proudfoot
09 367 5882
Agri-Food – Auckland
Andrew Watene

09 367 5969
Management Consulting – Wellington
Justine Fitzmaurice
04 816 4845
Private Enterprise – Hamilton
Hamish McDonald 

07 858 6519
Farm Enterprise – South Island
Brent Love

03 683 1871
Agri-Food - South Island
Paulette Elliott
+64 2788 61744

Field Notes Administrator
Demosson Metu
+64 9365 4073