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A proposed weather modification system in China to provide rainfall over 550 million hectares, Post-Brexit Britain immediately jumps to open opportunities for gene editing, and disease outbreaks cause mass culling in poultry and pork. In our first article for 2021, Jack Keeys shares and discusses some of the highlight stories from the past few weeks as we head into 2021. Read the full article here.
To read previous editions of Field Notes please click here.
Danone North America expands dairy regenerative agriculture program [22 December, Dairy Reporter]
Danone North America is continuing to expand its regenerative farming program, which has grown by 64% in 2020. The plans over the next two years are to establish goals with farmer partners, pilot innovative technologies to drive change, launch industry-leading tools, finance projects to accelerate more impact, and achieve enrolment of 100,000 acres under the regenerative agriculture program.
Tag: International, Dairy, Environment & Emissions, Farming Systems
UN launches 2021 as International Year of Fruits and Vegetables [22 December, Vatican News]
The United Nations is making 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV), aiming to highlight the vital role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition and food security, as well as urging efforts to improve sustainable production and reduce waste in fruits and vegetables food systems. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is leading the celebration of the year, in collaboration with other organizations..
Supermarkets airlifting fruit and vegetables to UK amid shortage fears [23 December, The Guardian]
Supermarkets and their suppliers are planning to airlift fresh fruit and vegetable products into the UK next week as amid worries the lifting of a French blockade will not prevent some shortages in stores. One major supermarket said it had already begun flying in produce from Spain and North Africa and another said it was considering doing so, while the Lufthansa has landed 80 tonnes of fruit and vegetables at Doncaster airport on Wednesday.
Tag: International, Trade & Exports, Horticulture
China’s New Food Waste Tactic: Fining Restaurant Customers Who Order Too Much Food [23 December, The Spoon]
To reduce food waste nationwide, China has proposed a new law that fines restaurant customers for leaving food on their plate. It is estimated that 35 million tons of food is wasted in China every year and half of that occurs at retail and other consumer-facing places like restaurants. The law would allow restaurants to charge customers who order excessive food and leave leftovers on their plates, while customers would still be able to take home leftovers.
Tag: Food waste Int,ernational, Policy and regulation
New Zealand's climate change-resistant apple proving successful in Europe [23 December, Stuff]
A new variety of New Zealand apple breed, called HOT841A, is proving its resistance to climate change in European countries like Italy, Spain and France, says fruit and vegetable producer T&G Global. It was the first variety of apple commercialised by T&G under an industry breeding project Hot Climate Programme, which aims to secure the long-term sustainability of apple production in a changing climate.
Tag: Food Innovation, Research & Development, Horticulture
Kiwi uni students create a buzz in the market with mead RTDs [23 December, NZ Herald]
.University students Wilbur Morrison and Edward Eaton entered the booming RTD market with their new mead drink mixed with native Kamahi honey and Hawke's Bay lemon - The Buzz Club's Session Mead. The product is now being distributed in Christchurch and with the aimed to fill shelves throughout the country during the New Year.
Tag: Food Innovation
Why Waste tackling food waste with subscription-based worm farms [26 December, RNZ]
More food went to waste during the week of Christmas than any other time of the year, says the Love Food Hate Waste group. The business Why Waste has a novel solution for excess food scraps through its worm farm subscriptions. It costs $25 per month to have a worm farm on the property that will be taken care of by the team at Why Waste. Subscriptions are mainly available in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Dunedin, with the plan to expand into Wellington in 2021.
Tag: Food waste
Nelson Boxing Day hailstorm: Motueka fruit growers lose entire crop [27 December, The Country]
A devastating hailstorm that hit the Nelson region on 26 December has ruined millions of dollars worth of fruit, says the Motueka Fruit Growers Association. Richard Clarkson, president of the association, said some growers had lost 80-100% crop and the widespread impact would be felt by the district and the entire country. The weather conditions, difficulties in complying with lockdowns and the labour shortages had altogether made it a challenging year for growers, Mr Clarkson said.
Tag: Weather & Climate, Horticulture
Archaeologists uncover ancient street food shop in Pompeii [27 December, Reuters]
Archaeologists in Pompeii have found a frescoed hot food and drinks shop in the archaeological park’s Regio V site, which is not yet open to the public from 79 AD. Known as a termopolium, Latin for hot drinks counter, the shop served up the ancient equivalent of street food to Roman passersby. The counter was decorated with brightly coloured frescoes, some depicting animals that were part of the ingredients in the food sold.
Amid pandemic, Pacific islands work to offset food shortages [28 December, Stuff]
Despite low covid-infections in the remote Pacific islands, disruptions to their food imports supply chain were enormous as tourism waned. Many governments have started community initiatives to help alleviate food shortages by extending fishing seasons, expanding indigenous food gathering lessons, and bolstering seed distribution programs that allow residents greater self-reliance. Mervyn Piesse from Australian-based Future Directions International said regional diets might shift away from imports to more locally grown fresh food even after the pandemic.
Tag: International, Food security, Covid-19
England is finding new ways to crack down on unhealthy foods [28 December, CNN]
As part of a wider push to tackle obesity, the UK government is moving forward to restrict how supermarkets sell and advertise unhealthy foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the new rules are due to be effective by April 2022 and will apply to retailers in England with more than 50 employees, while stores smaller than 2000 square feet and specialist retailers will be exempt from some of the restrictions.
Tag: International, Food Marketing
‘Farmers need assured income, even rich nations pump massive subsidy into agriculture’: Agri Expert Devinder Sharma [30 December, Indian Express]
Before another round of talks between Indian farmers and the Union government, agriculture expert Devinder Sharma shared some insights about the current protests and how India can rebuild its agricultural economy by using assure price. He talked about the three farm laws for the reform in the field of agriculture, the precedent policy examples in other countries like the US, and how the mechanism of MSP as a policy instrument to provide an assured income in the hands of farmers.
Tag: International, Policy and regulation, Food Security
'Mom, we need food': Thousands in South Sudan near famine [01 January, ABC News]
More than 30,000 people are in likely famine in South Sudan's Pibor county, which could be the first part of the world in famine since 2017 when one was declared in another part of the country deep in civil war, findings from international food security experts show. South Sudan, along with Yemen, Burkina Faso and northeastern Nigeria are the 4 areas that could slip into famine, warned the United Nations.
Tag: International, Food security
NZ crayfish in hot demand in China, selling for $100, as China-Australia relations sour [03 January, Stuff]
High prices and strong demand from Chinese consumers has boosted New Zealand’s crayfish industry, after its $38 million loss during lockdowns. The increased demand was on par with the Chinese New Year and the National Day of the People's Republic of China on October 1. The tension between Australia and China also impacted their lobsters export, leaving the market for New Zealand exporters to supply our crays. “We have other markets but China takes the most volume and pays the best prices,” said Burkhart Fisheries co-founder Trevor Burkhart.
Tag: Fisheries, Trade & Exports
NZ-grown papaya tested as possible dengue treatment [05 January, Stuff]
Queenstown-based company Fuller Young International is leading a project to see if an extract from New Zealand-grown papaya leaves could be an effective treatment for dengue fever. The R&D within NZ is supported by Crown institutes, Plant and Food Research, and Callaghan Innovation. The first extracts are now part of a clinical study at universities in the UK and in Asia. The next step will be human trials to test the efficacy of the extract on the dengue virus, says the managing director Raymond Young.
Tag: Research & Development, Horticulture
Dairy prices start 2021 with a bang [06 January, Farmers Weekly]
The combined effect of a rise in global dairy prices and strong demand for New Zealand’s main export commodity will see the NZ dollar push higher. The latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) has seen dairy commodity prices lifted 3.9%, with whole milk powder up 3.1% and skim milk powder up 4.1%. “This whole milk powder price is higher than any result seen at GDT through 2020. Strong demand across all contract periods shows that buyers have been willing to pay more to secure supply,” NZX senior dairy analyst Amy Castleton said.
Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports
Gallo completes $810 million wine megadeal with Constellation [05 January, MarketWatch]
E. & J. Gallo Winery completed its $810 million purchase of about 30 wine labels from Constellation Brands Inc. on Tuesday, which is one of the largest acquisitions in the history of the wine industry. Constellation, the third-largest wine producer in the US, offloaded its lower-priced brands to focus on more premium labels. Gallo, the nation’s largest wine producer, acquired popular brands such as Clos du Bois, Ravenswood and Mark West.
Tag: Viticulture, International
Australian red meat now fully traceable across supply chain [06 January, Food Processing]
Independent regulator Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) partnered with Oritain to develop ‘origin fingerprints’ for Australian beef and lamb, which upon completion will allow stakeholders to scientifically verify and authenticate such products from anywhere in global supply chains. The $28.5 billion red meat industry has $17.2 billion in export receipts, with much of that success owing to the reputation of food safety, quality and brand ‘Australia’, said MLA.
Tag: International, Red Meat
63 tonnes of 'ghost gear' removed from Atlantic Ocean in 2020: Fisheries Department [07 January, Halifax Today]
As part of a Canadian government program to reduce marine pollution, more than 63 tonnes of lost fishing gear was retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean in 2020, said the Fisheries Department. It also helped reunite gear to fishers, with more than 100 pieces of marked gear claimed by harvesters. The program was funded by Ottawa's Ghost Gear Fund, which financed 26 projects (22 in Canada and 4 internationally) related to keeping oceans healthy.
Tag: Fisheries, Environment & Emissions
Fisheries officers carry out major bust on illegal shellfish after public tip off [08 January, Newshub]
Fisheries officers have carried out a major swoop on illegal shellfish taking after public tip-offs. As a result, almost 3000 cockles and dozens of undersized paua have been returned to the sea. The team found just last weekend that 2216 cockles were taken from Auckland's Eastern Beach where shellfish gathering is banned. "They're essentially stealing from the New Zealand public,” MPI Fisheries Compliance Regional Manager Andre Espinoza says.
Tag: Fisheries, Policy and regulation
Honey exporter caned for British ad's health claims [08 January, Stuff]
The UK Advertising Standards Authority has ruled the New Zealand-based Mānuka Doctor should not advertise the honey as a treatment for coughs with ''anti-microbial properties'', as it could be interpreted by consumers as able to cure diseases caused by microorganisms. Mānuka Doctor used the wording after a well-reported study by Oxford University about honey’s use for relieving the symptoms of upper respiratory tract symptoms, especially coughs. The company has removed the claims after the ruling, no financial penalty applied.
Tag: Apiculture, Food Marketing, International
World food prices rise for seventh consecutive month [08 January, Rural News]
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) reported the seventh consecutive rise in the food price index, averaged 107.5 points in December 2020, up 2.2% from November. Tracking monthly changes in the international prices of commonly traded food commodities, the benchmark index over the whole of 2020 had a 3.1% year-on-year increase to an average of 97.9 points, recording a three-year high.
Brexit clears way for NZ negotiations [08 January, Farmers Weekly]
The European Union and New Zealand have wrapped up the ninth round of negotiations in early December without a revised offer. The previous offer, which insiders say offers very little improvement on current access to European markets, had been dismissed by NZ negotiators. The tenth round of negotiations is due to begin later this month. Former special agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen says there should be no excuses now for EU and the UK to start making offers that align with their rhetoric about NZ being a favoured country and wanting to work with us in international trade.
Tag: Trade & Exports, International
Consultation launched over gene edited food in England [08 January, BBC]
The UK government has launched a consultation on using gene editing - which alters the DNA of organisms - to modify livestock and food crops in England. Environment Secretary George Eustice said that the use of gene editing could lead to the production of healthier food, and to develop crops that are more resistant to disease and extreme weather. The 10-week consultation will run until March 17.
Tag: Research & Development, Policy and regulation, Food Innovation, International
New AgResearch building increases food science capabilities [07 January, Stuff]
AgResearch opened a new food research building, Te Ohu Rangahau Kai, at Massey University last year, it is now hosting staff from AgResearch, Massey and food research centre the Riddet Institute to work together and share quality food scientist capability. The facility has three floors with labs and workspaces, as well as a pilot plant for working on food.
Tag: Research & Development
China’s sky-high weather goals [07 January, Farmers Weekly]
WeatherWatch director Philip Duncan doubts the success of using Chinese weather modification methods to artificially change rainfall, snow and hail patterns in New Zealand. In 2020, it was announced by Chinese authorities that a national weather modification plan would be used to boost rainfall across millions of square kilometres. Although cloud seeding may relief farmers from droughts, it seems not suitable for New Zealand’s relatively small landmass surrounded by huge bodies of water that dominate our weather systems.
Tag: Weather, Climate Change, International, Research & Development
Amazon deforestation increasing under Bolsonaro's government [11 January, Stuff]
Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has deteriorated under Brazil's government led by President Jair Bolsonaro with a yearly increase of 9.5%, which is especially concerning as it followed on a whopping 34% increase in 2019 when it was Bolsonaro's first year as president. This means the total area that had been deforested in 2020 is at the highest it has been in 12 years.
Tag: International, Environment & Emissions, Policy and regulation
Impossible Foods cuts plant-meat prices again [11 January, Stuff]
Impossible Foods announced a 15% price cut on its meat-alternative products, urging wholesalers to pass on the cost-saving to consumers. This brought the price for an Impossible Burger to about $6.80 per pound in the U.S. but it would still be more than double the price of traditional ground beef per pound with such discount. With the surging demand for meat alternatives, Impossible Foods says the business model can now sustain another price reduction.
Tag: Alternative Proteins, International
France and Germany cull more birds to contain bird flu outbreak [06 January, RNZ]
More than 660,000 birds will be culled in France and Germany to contain the H5N8 bird flu, an avian influenza virus that has been reported in many European countries. France has already slaughtered about 200,000 poultry and is set to cull a further 400,000 that include flocks where outbreaks occurred as well as preventive slaughtering of birds in surrounding areas, a farm ministry official said. Meanwhile, Germany is planning to slaughter about 62,000 turkeys and ducks after the bird flu was found on more poultry farms.
Tag: International, Poulty, Biosecurity
Pork trade threatened for sixth year by African Swine Fever (ASF) [06 January, Food Safety News]
African Swine Fever was expected to show up for a sixth straight year from 2021, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) warned. ASF is a viral disease that threatens both domestic pigs and wild boar with a high mortality rate but does not affect people. OIE reported there are new or ongoing outbreaks underway in 23 territories, 8 in Europe and 12 in Asia, and cautioned its member states to handle the trade of pork in accordance with proper hygienic practices to prevent infection.
Tag: Pork, International, Biosecurity
Brief explores covid’s impact on ag [12 January, Farmers Weekly]
The briefing papers to the incoming Cabinet ministers warn a challenging outlook for the agriculture sector, as the global recession will weaken consumer demand and soften prices affecting agricultural production and trade volumes unevenly “with uncertain timing and magnitude.” The document also detailed the agriculture sector employs 283,000 people or one job in nine; sustains 60,000 enterprises; generates $40 billion in export revenue, which has grown at 4% a year since 2010, while occupying 26.8m ha, about half NZ’s land mass.
Tag: Agribusiness, Covid-19
Thousands of tonnes of Central Otago cherries are ruined and being dumped after heavy rainfall. The full extent of the damage was yet to be quantified, but it was expected up to half the season’s cherry crop had been lost due to splitting, equivalent to a $50 million drop in export revenue, Summerfruit NZ chief executive Richard Palmer said. Central Otago’s crop of 7000-8000 tonnes last year would be reduced to 3000-4000 tonnes, he expected.
Tag: Horticulture, Weather & climate
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