The 2023 KPMG Agribusiness Agenda report (The Agenda), called Energising a World of Anxiety, reflects the fact that there are massive opportunities in front of Aotearoa’s food and fibre sector. However, there is a deep sense that people are struggling to connect to what that future looks like, and there is a need for a boost of hope and energy to move forward.

KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot, says it’s been another challenging report to write because so much is happening but no clear pathways forward.

Amongst the many current sector leader roundtables we held, it was clear to me that the leaders believe that there is significant anxiety about what the future holds across the sector and concern about whether the sector and their organisations have the resources, capabilities and skills ready to respond to what lies ahead.

In preparing the insights for The Agenda this year, we engaged with current leaders as well as emerging leaders, asking them the same questions in the annual KPMG Agribusiness Priorities Survey and hosting a forum for emerging leaders to discuss what needs to be done now to create the future they envision for the sector. 

Four main themes are highlighted in this year’s Agenda:

Leading the unconverted: Leaders are leading the converted, but work is needed to engage the unconverted in the sector around the full extent of the opportunities available, connecting them to hope.

Stepping up innovation: The industry has plenty of ambition to step into the future. There is a desire to plug into vibrant innovation systems, have certainty over the regulatory framework and have confidence that the necessary investment will be made into infrastructure that will enable them to realise their ambitions.

Investing in defensible trust: The bar to achieve trusted status is not static. It is consistently rising. The industry’s regulatory platform must be collaboratively designed with the people and organisations it regulates to deliver credible outcomes for our communities and markets. Trade practices must benefit more than just the exporter, while the rapid emergence of Generative Artificial Intelligence means credible data must back every action.

Feeding the five million: We’ve seen a rise in the priority of feeding our five million first. It is increasingly seen as critically important as it goes directly to the sector’s operating licence. It is a clear equity issue that the sector can play an important role in addressing.

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