Week in Review

In Aotearoa, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Limited’s educational programme, Farmer Time for Schools, has successfully completed its second year, achieving an 8% growth in student participation from 2022, reaching nearly 1,100 students. The programme connects farmers with primary and intermediate school students virtually, aiming to improve their comprehension of food production and introduce them to career prospects within the primary industries. According to Statistics New Zealand, the national sheep count has fallen to 24.4 million and with the nation’s current population, this equates to 4.6 sheep per person. Reasons for this decline are linked to a drop in grassland some of which has been converted to forestry, with the land area for pine and exotic forests increasing by 11% since 2011. Land Information New Zealand has reported that since July 2022, the government has approved 2,900 hectares for sale or lease to foreign investors for solar farm construction. The government has committed to continuing to hold Canada accountable for their commitments in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a move supported by dairy processors. Following a CPTPP arbitration panel ruling, Canada had until May 1st to change how it administers its dairy tariff rate quotas.

In international news, the New Zealand – European Union Free Trade Agreement has come into force after more than 15 years of advocacy. The European Union is New Zealand’s fourth-largest trade partner, with a bi-directional exchange of goods and services valued at $20.2 billion in 2022. Through the agreement kiwifruit, wine, seafood, and numerous other commodities will benefit from tariff reductions. Avian influenza continues to be a concern in the United States, with its detection in 34 dairy herds across nine states; however, a nationwide survey has shown 1 in 5 samples of retail milk tested positive for the virus. The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution declaring 2026 the International Year of the Woman Farmer. Designating International Year of the Woman Farmer 2026 is designed to tackle the obstacles and difficulties encountered by women farmers in agrifood systems, while simultaneously promoting gender equality and empowering women in agriculture. In Canadian news, Starbucks Canada has allocated CAD $500,000 (NZD $608,250) to support sustainability in Canada's dairy industry. Under the Dairy Sustainability Incentive programme, Starbucks Canada has joined forces with Dairy Farmers of Canada to provide incentives and support to dairy farmers who are dedicated to implementing environmentally sustainable practises as they aim for net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Spotlight Stories

Climate Change Spotlight:

A green field with a herd of cows

Banks brace for agri climate losses [1 May, Farmers Weekly]

The Reserve Bank has published the results of climate stress testing through to 2050 on the loan books of the five largest banks in New Zealand. The climate change scenarios modelled the impact of greater numbers of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts and increased costs due to pricing carbon emissions. The results reveal bank profits may fall by NZ$32 billion between 2031 and 2050 with the agriculture sector representing the second largest share of total losses at 27%. Sheep and beef loans are expected to be  worst affected with loan defaults projected to reach 25% by the mid-2040s. As a result, the banks may work to limit their exposure to vulnerable agriculture loans, for example by factoring in the impact of drought on property valuations in drought prone regions without adequate irrigation. Original full article here.

Tags: producer resilience; agricultural lending; climate scenarios

Innovation Spotlight:

A birdseye view of a container ship docked at the port

Nutrient tool a ground-breaking innovation [24 April, Stuff]

New Zealand scientists from Massey University’s Riddet Institute have developed an online tool to monitor the global flow of over 40 nutrients through food traded. The tool enables researchers to understand the flow of food worldwide, analyse its impact on human diets, and assess the risks associated with trade disruptions. The nutrient trade model is a part of the sustainable nutrients initiative which aims to improve accessibility to information on food systems and sustainability. Whilst there is considerable focus on food trade and supply chain resilience, the specific nutrients involved in this trade are often not considered. Disruptions in trade supply chains not only affect food production but also have global implications for nutrition and health. Launched earlier this year, the online tool is primarily utilised by government officials, industry professionals, and academics. Original full article here

Tags: sustainable nutrients initiative; nutrient trade model; supply chain disruptions 

Headline Stories

Scientists researching in a lab

Jooules secures NZ$1M to transform CO2 into Complete Protein Ingredients [1 May, Vegconomist]

Jooules, a New Zealand-based food tech startup, has secured NZ$1 million in funding to further develop its technology that transforms carbon dioxide (CO2) into complete protein ingredients. The startup leverages gaseous fermentation and specific microbe strains that consume CO2 to produce a complete protein powder. Their fermentation process uses less water (600 times less) and requires 99% less land than traditional protein production. Early testing has shown their proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, meeting the standards set by the FAO for complete proteins. The pre-seed funding round has provided the capital required for the startup to expand its technical team and scale its platform. Additionally, the funds will be utilised for product development in collaboration with Crown research entity Scion. Original full article here.

Tags: food innovation; protein powder, precision fermentation; carbon dioxide 

A birdseye picture of the coastline with native forestry

First ever planet-wide analysis shows conservation work is making a measurable difference [1 May, Anthropocene Magazine]

The findings of the first ever planet-wide scientific analysis have shown that conservation efforts have improved biodiversity. The analysis was funded by the International Union for the Conversation of Nature and provides insights into the effectiveness of biodiversity strategies. Researchers examined 186 different studies that assessed various conservation measures and compared them to situations where no action was taken. The findings showed that 45% of these measurements demonstrated an improvement in biodiversity, and an additional 21% showed that interventions had at least slowed the decline. The most significant impacts were observed when targeting invasive and problematic species. To ensure we meet the global biodiversity protection needs, researchers estimate that an annual investment range of $178 billion to $524 billion is necessary, surpassing the current spending levels of approximately $120 billion per year. Original full article here.

Tags: biodiversity, conservation; research & analysis; protection

A container ship transporting goods across the sea

New Zealand launches trade negotiations with United Arab Emirates [7 May, NZ Herald – The Country]

New Zealand’s Trade Minister, Todd McClay, has announced the launch of negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and New Zealand. The UAE is an important bilateral partner for New Zealand with the two-way trade with the UAE worth $1.13 billion, as of March 2024. New Zealand exported $976 million and imported $153.9 million, this represents 1% of New Zealand’s total exports, with dairy accounting for more than half of  these exports at $574 million. Efforts to establish a free trade agreement between New Zealand and the Gulf Co-operation Council countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman, have been ongoing for over a decade, however to date no agreement has been reached. Original full article here

Tags: regional trade agreements; Gulf Co-operation Council; United Arab Emirates

Get in touch


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

09 367 5969
Management Consulting – Wellington
Justine Fitzmaurice
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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