Week in Review

In Aotearoa, AgriZeroNZ has announced three new shareholders. The a2 Milk Company, ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited, and ASB Bank will join the the public-private partnership investment fund supporting pasture-based farmers to reduce their agricultural emissions. Their addition to the partnership means the AgriZeroNZ fund is boosted by $18 million, as the government has also pledged to match the new private sector contributions dollar for dollar, bringing the total funds to $183 million over its first four years. A recent report by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ has found an increase in the loss of productive soil from erosion and urban development. The study found that between 2019 and 2022, there was a 54 percent rise in the conversion of highly productive land for urban or residential purposes. New Zealand dairy farmers have achieved the highest six-week in-calf rate and lowest not-in-calf rate on record, according to new data from DairyNZ Limited and the Livestock Improvement Corporation Limited. These improvements in reproductive performance may increase milk revenue by $130.7 million on a national scale and help lower agricultural emissions through reducing the number of non-productive cows. Meanwhile, New Zealand farmers are frustrated over immediate changes made by the government to the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme. The changes include shorter visa lengths, a 12-month stand-down period and new eligibility requirements, which farmers believe will affect their ability to bring in and retain overseas staff.

In international news, India has signed long term agreements with Brazil and Argentina to import pulses, following India’s domestic production dropping by over 10% in 2023-24 on the previous year’s output. The deals were made to ensure a steady supply and stabilise the domestic market, which has been affected by low pulse production and increasing local demand. France’s Council of State has suspended a proposed ban on using meat-related terms for plant-based products following legality concerns. This suspension allows plant-based manufacturers to continue using terms like "steak" and "ham" to describe their products. The British government has revised its hemp licensing rules to support regulated farmers wishing to grow the crop for legal purposes. The new regulations will make it easier for farmers to obtain licenses, double the licensing period, and take advantage of the growing market for hemp-based products. Meanwhile, British retailer, Marks and Spencer (M&S), plans to invest £1 million (NZ $ 2.1 million) in a project aimed at reducing its carbon footprint by changing the diet of dairy cows supplying M&S with milk. The retailer aims to cut 11,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually through providing a supplement to the pasture-grazed cows in its supply chain which will help prevent methane from forming in the cow’s digestive system.

a person writing in a notebook outside in a hay field

Opportunity: Share your views on Training and Assessment in the New Zealand Food and Fibre Sector

KPMG is pleased to be assisting The Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (FFCoVE), Muka Tangata and Te Pūkenga on a project to review and provide recommendations on the delivery and assessment practices in vocational educational training across the New Zealand food and fibre sector.

The project seeks to identify aspects that could be improved in learning delivered through a food and fibre sector qualification and is seeking your views through an online focus group on how learning is conducted at your learning organisation, for your job, or in the industry you work with.

The online focus groups will explore the current delivery and assessment of learning and training to see if they are fit-for-purpose or identify where potential improvements could be made to meet the needs of the sector now, and in the future.

There will be two online sessions, the times are below.

        Tuesday 23rd April – 11:30am to 1:00pm

        Thursday 2nd May - 11:30am to 1:00pm

If you are interested in attending, please use the link to register (here).

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this project please contact Jackie Lynch, from The Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence on JLynch@foodandfibrecove.nz  

Spotlight Stories

Innovation Spotlight:

a couple of sheep in a paddock

Wool keratin-based pigment attracts international interest [9 April, RNZ]

The Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand’s commercial venture, Wool Source, have made successful advancements in their ability to transform strong wool fibre into small particles suitable for use in a wide range of products, including inks and dyes. The breakthroughs are around developing the colour and intensity of particles, and in producing super fine, under a micron in size, particles. These innovations open up large industrial opportunities for the wool sector, with pigments derived from wool presenting an eco-friendly substitute for existing petrochemical-based compounds. The development has gained attention from prominent international companies. Wool Source aim to build a mid-sized production facility in the near future. Original full article here

Tags: eco-friendly; wool; biodegradable; innovation

Biosecurity Spotlight:

a bunch of cows in a paddock

States enact dairy cattle travel restrictions over bird flu concerns [12 April, Agriculture Dive]

Concerned about the potential transmission of avian influenza among dairy cows, multiple states in the United States have imposed limitations on cattle imports. There are now restrictions in place on the interstate transportation of dairy cattle in at least 18 states. So far, the virus has been identified in 20 dairy herds across seven different states. The US milk supply is safe due to pasteurisation killing the virus. There is low risk of the virus spreading to the public, however, a farm worker in Texas recently tested positive for the virus after contact with affected cattle. Canada and Mexico, key trading partners, are monitoring the situation closely, with Mexico increasing their passive surveillance and reinforcing the clinical inspection of cattle coming in from the US. Original full article here

Tags: dairy cows; avian influenza; united states

Headline Stories

birds eye view of a container shipping port

New Brexit checks will cause food shortages in UK, importers warn [13 April, The Guardian]

The United Kingdom’s government is introducing Brexit import checks on April 30th as part of their Border Operating Model, which aims to mirror the checks already in place on products entering the European Union from the UK. Importers will be required to fill out an additional form for animal products, plants, and herbs and pay a "common user charge" of up to £145 (NZ $306) per consignment. The per consignment fee is intended to cover the cost of a new inland border control facility. Industry leaders are warning that this could result in shortages of food, flowers, and herbs, as several suppliers have already decided against absorbing the additional charges and have opted to cease supplying the UK. Global trade credit insurer, Allianz Trade, has suggested that food import costs will increase by 10% in the first year of the new system. Original full article here

Tags: Brexit; food import; trade

women in a field

Bug bites into Californian thistle problem [11 April, Stuff]

Scientists at AgResearch have been evaluating the leaf-eating tortoise beetle's effectiveness in controlling Californian thistles, a weed that costs the New Zealand agricultural sector millions of dollars in both control methods and in lost productive land. The leaf-eating tortoise beetles control the thistle by defoliating it, reducing its ability to photosynthesise and decreasing its root mass. They also lay eggs that hatch into larvae which consume the thistle, contributing to effective population management. The beetles were first introduced as a biological control mechanism in 2007 and have been spread extensively around the country although their effectiveness has been irregular. It appears the beetle takes ten years to establish and spread across a farm before it has a significant impact on thistle populations. Researchers continue to investigate what factors can improve the beetle’s performance, having recently ruled climate variability out as a cause for the inconsistent performance. Despite the performance variability, the beetle remains a cost-effective solution, particularly for hill country farms.  Original full article here

Tags: biological control; tortoise beetle, californian thistle

a group of coporate people having a meeting around a whte table

Hopes for food hub tenants soon [8 April, The Profit]

A new food innovation hub, Foodeast-Haumako, will open early 2024 in Hawke’s Bay. Funding of $18 million for the project was secured from several sources, including the government’s Provincial Growth Fund ($12 million), Hawke's Bay Regional Council ($4 million) and local meat export company Progressive Meats ($1 million). There are aspirations that the hub will cultivate regional food entrepreneurs who could achieve success like industry giants Watties or Apple Press. When it was launched, it was estimated Foodeast would add $100 million to the regional GDP and bring 500 new jobs to the Hawke’s Bay. The hub aims to return 6% on investment, while providing support for innovative businesses and a service that offers connections to various primary "food hubs", and specialists across New Zealand. Original full article here

Tags: food innovation hub; investment

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