Week in Review
This week novel foods receive a lot of international profile with European Food Safety Authority concluding mealworms are safe for human consumption, organ meat receiving a dedicated awareness month, and AI accelerating in a new biotech laboratory.
In New Zealand we see prices of logs, lambs and dairy all showing positive results for the start of the year, with analysts keeping a close eye on what the next few months may bring.
Blog: “New Zealand’s Export Premortem”… what’s in it?
Kia ora ano o te tau hou! It’s nice to be back and excited about the year ahead albeit a little timorous given the ramifications of C-19.
It’s nice to have had time to think over the break and while our industries continued with some and their seasons almost at their peak, I thought about what needs to go right for New Zealand exporters for this year, our ‘premortem’ per se? Read the full article here.
To read previous editions of Field Notes please click here.
Online marketplace launched to sell wines to would be foreign tourists [13 January, Stuff]
A new online marketplace, Wine Collective Direct, has been launched to sell premium wines directly to overseas customers with the hopes to deliver greater profit margins and expand export markets. Nearly 800,000 wine tourists spent more than $3 billion in 2019, but covid-19 disruptions had badly affected around 300 wine producers, Wine Collective Direct director Grant Rimmer said.
Tag: Viticulture, Food Marketing
Collaboration key to food security [14 January, Farmers Weekly]
In a webinar late last year, Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) chair Rachel Taulelei says covid-19 has highlighted the challenge of food security and it is crucial to build strong foundations for food production, distribution and trade flow. “At a practical level, enhancing the digital facilitation of trade will help supply chains for the better,” she said.
Tag: Food security
Environment taxes considered [14 January, Farmers Weekly]
Treasury’s briefing papers to the incoming Minister of Revenue lists the development of environmental taxes as one of three pieces of tax stewardship and strategic issues it has underway, stating New Zealand currently collects a very low share of revenue from environmental taxes. Inland Revenue also mentioned environmental taxes as a key issue in the Tax Policy Work Programme to be considered.
Tag: Policy and regulation, Environment & Emissions
2021 logs on with a great start for the NZ lumber industry [14 January, The Country]
Covid-19 has drastically affected log prices and demand for export logs, which make up around 65% of our total production. The swing from the highest to lowest price was $56/JAS, which is the largest since 2014. But it is believed the price of logs will be pushed up by the sustained strong demand from China as it has begun a large spend on infrastructure. Meanwhile, supply from Canada and the US continues to reduce due to declining allowable cut levels and strong internal housing demand.
Tag: Forestry, Trade & Exports
Industry backing for Southland plant-based drink factory [14 January, Stuff]
A new plant-based food processing facility is being built by NZ Functional Foods, on the site of the old Alliance Makarewa plant. K1W1 is the majority shareholder, while Southland regional development agency Great South holds 49%. Oat company Harraway & Sons will be a supplier to the new facility. “We are taking that step to diversification and plant-based food which is obviously the big trend in the world right now,” said Harraway’s chief executive Henry Hawkins.
Tag: Food Innovation, Alternative Proteins
Broadband divide widens as data demand puts pressure on networks [14 January, Stuff]
New users and data usage growth driven by Covid-19, particularly around rural homes, were putting pressure on the service levels, Telecommunications Users Association New Zealand chief executive Craig Young said. MBIE spokeswoman Kelly Loh said the Government announced $15m investments in connectivity, and an addition $50m to further address capacity issues in rural and urban fringe areas.
Tag: Infrastructure, Rural Communities
Funds to support biodiversity projects [15 January, Farmers Weekly]
Two new funds worth a combined $34 million have been created to boost biodiversity-focused projects on both public and private land. The $18 million by Private Land Biodiversity Fund will help landowners protect and restore rare habitats that safeguard populations of native species, while the $16m Conservation Fund is available to community groups with a focus on practical projects aimed at conserving NZ’s indigenous biodiversity.
Tag: Environment & Emissions, Farming Systems, Farmers & Producers
No end in sight for shipping disruptions [15 January, Farmers Weekly]
Exporters are warned the shipping capacity issue is unlikely to be resolved for this year’s peak season. Access to shipping containers is being hampered by port congestion caused by resurgent global demand, and some vessels are not backloading empty containers. The problem has been accentuated by industrial action at Australian ports, capacity issues and a shortage of skilled workers at the Port of Auckland.
Tag: Trade & Exports
Southland is growing into a centre for aquaculture excellence [17 January, Stuff]
NZ Abalone Company is the first farm in the country to produce its own shellfish feed specifically for a New-Zealand species, which gives staff more control over the quality and quantity of pāua it produces. The company has partnered with the Auckland University of Technology and made the old Ocean Beach site building a centre for aquaculture education, research and development.
A rural waste scheme, AgRecovery rural recycling programme, is forecasting record growth as more farmers and growers look to recycle rather than burn and bury their old containers, drums and chemicals. Started in 2007, the programme has recycled 1.5 million containers and the whole process is completed in NZ without sending material overseas. AgRecovery recorded a 43% increase in plastic collected during 2018-19, and a further 34.4% increase in 2019-20.
Tag: Environment & Emissions, Farmers & Producers
Southland woman shatters world record [16 January, Gisborne herald]
24-year-old Southland shearer Megan Whitehead set a new women's world record by clipping 661 lambs in nine hours in a woolshed near Gore. By shearing and dispatching the average 34-36kg lambs at an average of fewer than 50 seconds each, Megan successfully chased the previous record of 648 set by Waikato shearer Emily Welch in 2007.
Tag: Wool, Honours & Awards
South Island lamb sales fetch decent premium [15 January, Farmers Weekly]
Farmers in the Mackenzie Basin selling at on-farm sales this week had lambs fetching a good premium on pre-Christmas values, with the rain over the Christmas-New Year period relieving the challenges of dry weather. The tops of the run fetched $111 with smaller lambs down to $50, but all 2200 lambs sold averaged $3/kg and were up 20-30c on pre-Christmas values.
Tag: Red meat, Farmers & Producers
More expensive fruit and vegetables boost food prices in 2020 [15 January, Hort News]
Stats NZ announced that fruit and vegetable prices increased by almost 9% in the year ending December 2020, boosting overall food price inflation to 2.9%, higher than the most recent consumer price index inflation of 1.4%. “In 2020 prices have been high for a variety of crops, including potatoes, courgettes and tomatoes, at different times of the year and for different reasons,” Stats NZ consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery says.
Tag: Horticulture, Trade & Exports
Tame Malcolm won the emerging leader category at the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards last year, with his work on helping Māori entities protect their environment and ensuring Māori have a say in how other agencies protect the environment. Embarking on a PhD this year, Mr Malcolm plans to research anecdotal knowledge to explore te ao Māori views and values around pest control.
Tag: Biosecurity, Research & Development
EFSA says mealworms safe for human consumption: ‘An important milestone towards Commercialisation’ [14 January, Food Navigator]
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its first scientific opinion on a proposed insect-derived food, dried yellow mealworm, recognising it as safe for human consumption. The safety authority’s assessment was coordinated by a chemist and food scientist Ermolaos Ververis, considered myriad issues, from protein content to allergens.
Tag: Research & Development, Alternative Proteins, International
Organuary looks to boost organ meat sales [14 January, Food Navigator]
The Public Health Collaboration (PHC) has launched Organuary 2021 in the UK to promote organ meats in at least one meal, twice per week, in the diet throughout January. The initiative encourages the consumption of organ meats such as kidneys, liver and offal to help the environment as well as consumer’s health. PHC director Sam Feltham said around one thousand people signed up to Organuary last year.
Tag: Red Meat, Food Marketing, International
Australians have increasingly embraced online food delivery services over the past few years, which caused a spike in single-use packaging as a major climate cost. A study found Australians placed 27 million online food orders in 2018, and this number is projected to be 65 million by 2024. Of the five cuisines examined, packaging from burger meals was responsible for the most carbon emissions, followed by Thai meals.
Tag: Environment & Emissions, Food marketing
Australian Horticulture Grower Reduces Bird Presence By Up To 90% [15 January, Scoop]
Gazzola Farms in Melbourne, Australia, installed the laser bird deterrent in 2018 to protect their crops and it effectively decreased bird presence on-farm by up to 90% after a few months. The laser bird deterrent device ‘AVIX Autonomic Mark II’ is fully automated and projects a laser beam to scare-away birds without hurting them.
Tag: Agritech, Horticulture
The ultimate wine tour is in Croatia, 20 metres under the sea [19 January, Euro news]
Edivo Winery in Croatia is the world's first and only underwater wine cellar. Their wine is made with locally grown grapes, aged in a cask for one year before being sunk to a depth of between 18-25 metres, where it will mature for another two years. The company’s diving team monitors the winery every 14 days while also offering tour opportunities to view the underwater cellar.
Tag: Viticulture, Food Innovation, International
Regional council releases Japanese butterfly in Taranaki to control weeds [19 January, Stuff]
The Taranaki Regional Council has released about 100 honshu white admiral pupae at Oākura and another 100 at Kakaramea to control an invasive weed, Japanese honeysuckle. TRC environment services manager Steve Ellis said it is one of several biocontrol agents used to control weeds, and agents may be used when a weed has become widespread and traditional chemical control is not practical.
The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni says food security has worsened for many New Zealanders, as rising accommodation costs eat into their weekly budget and Covid-19 escalated the problem. The Government spent $10 to $20 million a month on emergency food grants in 2020. New figures reveal 1.5 million emergency food grants were issued in 2020, which has tripled in just a few years.
Tag: Food security
Exchange rate a pain point for meat export [18 January, Farmers Weekly]
The fluctuating exchange rate and the congested global supply chain are causing headaches for meat exporters. Silver Fern Farms says between October and November the NZ-US exchange rate rose from $US0.65 to $US0.71, wiping $140 a head off beef and up to $11 off a lamb. SFF’s supply chain manager Dan Boulton forecast farm gate prime beef prices to range from $4.90-$4.60/kg, bull $4.80-$4.50 and cow $3.60-$3.30.
Tag: Dairy, Farmers & Producers, Trade & Exports
$7.20/kgMS and scope for more [19 January, Rural News]
ANZ raised its forecast milk price for this season to $7.20/kgMS based on strong global demand for dairy products. ANZ’s forecast is 20c higher than Fonterra’s forecast range midpoint and those of other major banks. Milk price futures are currently priced at $7.05/kgMS, which peaked at $7.11/kgMS in early December.
Royal DSM unveils artificial intelligence laboratory to drive biotech innovation [18 January, Food Navigator]
Royal DSM unveiled an AI laboratory in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology to drive bioscience innovation. Believing that AI is key to improving sustainability in the food chain, the company aims to deliver a wide range of food products at commercial scale with a view to helping solve global challenges, such as climate change, healthy nutrition for the world's rapidly growing population and raw material scarcity.
Tag: Food Innovation, Agritech, Research & Development, International
Dairy prices continue to surge at latest auction [20 January, The Country]
Dairy prices had the fifth consecutive increase in the latest Global Dairy Trade auction, with a 4.8% lift across the board. Whole milk powder prices rose 2.2% to US$3380/MT, and skim milk powder jumped 7.0% to an average US$3243/MT. Anhydrous milk fat showed the biggest increase of 17.2% to an average US$5398/MT. A total of 29,606MT of product was sold, attracting 181 bidders over 21 rounds.
Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports
Viruses can support sustainable food production [19 January, Farmers Weekly]
Plant & Food Research lead scientist Dr Robin MacDiarmid is researching viruses to see where they can serve good for more sustainable food production. Dr MacDiarmid sees plenty of opportunity over the next five years to examine viruses that may play a positive role in replacing synthetic sprays and offer a more socially acceptable means of protection. “We are hoping the concept of good viruses is one that becomes acceptable to growers and consumers,” she said.
Tag: Research & Development, Horticulture
Japan warns it will block NZ honey shipments if glyphosate limits breached [20 January, The Country]
Japan warns it will stop importing New Zealand honey if it continues to find the weed killer glyphosate exceeding limit during border testing. After Japan detected glyphosate for the second time through random testing, all honey from New Zealand will now be tested at the border. New Zealand’s global honey exports totalled $490 million last year, with around $68 million of that sent to Japan.
Tag: Apiculture, Trade & Exports, Food Safety, Policy and regulation
First group of RSE workers have arrived in time to tackle the apple harvest [19 January, Stuff]
The first group of horticultural workers from the Pacific Islands will be able to start working in less than two weeks after their isolation period. The first flight carrying 156 Registered Seasonal Employers (RSE) workers arrived on Sunday, with flights continuing to arrive every four days thereafter, industry chiefs say. There will be 13 flights in total with 2000 extra RSE workers, adding to the 5000 already in the country.
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