Week in Review
[26 August 2021]
As lockdowns are extended in New Zealand, frustrations rise for butchers and green grocers, vegetable growers and flower growers. As valuable produce goes to waste in fields, gaps remain in supermarket shelves around the country; headlines this week feature many businesses wondering why more couldn’t have been planned for this somewhat inevitable contingency over the past 12 months.
Internationally, climate remains top of the headlines with new carbon-neutral fleet commitments from Maersk, global climate-smart fishery opportunities outlined in research, and Spain the latest country tallying the expense of climate change on its productive environment with accelerating desertification.
Article of the Week
This week's article is from Ian Proudfoot titled: Using the time at home to seek out signals to the future
You can access the full article here.
To read previous editions of Field Notes please click here.
Lockdown's biggest supermarket sellers: Kiwis go bananas [20 August, Star News]
Across the country, the biggest selling item at Pak’nSave and New World during lockdown has been bananas, followed closely by broccoli, avocados, and milk. According to Foodstuffs, they have purchased an extra 2000 crates of fresh fruit and vegetables to boost their fresh produce supply, and help growers who would have normally been selling to hospitality businesses to ensure food doesn't go to waste. Additionally, there has been a limit of six placed on some products in Auckland and Coromandel stores, like toilet paper, flour, and bags of rice.
Sea asparagus craze takes hold of Emiratis as country looks to desert farms to tackle food insecurity [21 August, The Telegraph]
Emirati sea asparagus, also known as salicornia, has become an unlikely sensation in the United Arab Emirates, but they hope to deploy it in the fight against climate change. Grown in brine salvaged from the country's desalination plants, it is one of several vegetables that doesn't need fresh water and can be cultivated in the expansive Emirati desert with a minimal carbon footprint. Emirati food security minister Mariam Almheirm says home-grown sea asparagus was proving to be very popular in restaurants as it can be blended into crisps, cracks and even cocktail drinks.
Tag: International, Food security
This Week's Headlines
NZ Food Awards finalists announced [23 August, Food Ticker]
Finalists for New Zealand Food Awards 2021 include established industry players, such as Wattie’s and Whittaker’s, along with emerging businesses like beverage company Soochi and plant-based meat company Food Nation. There were more than 170 entries for the awards, sponsored by Massey University, with 66 finalists from 45 companies from across the country making the shortlist. Category winners and the supreme winner will be announced on 14 October at a gala dinner at the Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North.
Tag: Honours & Awards, Food Innovation
Afghanistan could start to run out of food by September, UN warns [23 August, The Guardian]
According to the World Health Organization, closure of the airport to commercial flights in Afghanistan has held up key deliveries, resulting in a possible food shortage by September. World Food Programme (WFP) Afghanistan deputy director Andrew Patterson said the WFP needs US$200 million to buy food for up to an estimated 20 million people due to Afghanistan's second drought in three years and the Taliban takeover. About 40% of Afghanistan’s crops were lost to drought this year, and the socioeconomic impact of Covid has left essential food out of reach for many families.
Tag: International, Food security
Butchers plead with Government to let them open [23 August, Rural News Group]
Butchers across New Zealand are urging the Government to allow them to reopen under strict Covid protocols and serve their communities. The losses many butchers suffered during the 2020 lockdown combined with the current lockdown could see many butchers being unable to reopen permanently says a spokesperson from Retail Meat New Zealand Kit Arkwright. He adds supermarkets are under increasing pressure, not just from a record concentration of customers, but for several supermarkets, they are a location of interest forcing their staff members into self-isolation.
Tag: Red Meat, Food Marketing, Covid-19
New Zealand's 'champagne moment': Iwi, industry and Government back stance to protect Mānuka honey [20 August, Farmers Weekly]
Iwi have joined forces with mānuka honey producers and the Government to protect the term ‘mānuka honey’ at an Intellectual Property Office (IPONZ) hearing. IPONZ accepted the term as a proposed certification mark in 2017, but Australian honey interests were still working to overturn Kiwi rights to the name. The hearing would allow Australian interests to appeal the decision and was scheduled for Wednesday but was put on hold because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Tag: Food Marketing, Policy and Regulation, Apiculture
Consumer education key to venison market [19 August, Stuff]
Silver Fern Farms (SFF) have dedicated staff in their China office to build on recent venison market success, which has seen a 180% increase in year-on-year sales of venison with indications of continued growth. A lack of consumer knowledge about venison, hesitancy due to the perception that it is a game meat and its relative unavailability has hampered the development of the Chinese market. SFF is rectifying that by educating chefs and consumers through workshops, demonstrations, food shows and on-the-ground research.
Tag: Trade & Exports, Red Meat, Food Marketing
An exciting chapter for wool [19 August, Farmers Weekly]
Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) and Primary Wool Co-operative have been working together to answer the demands of wool growers by developing a strategy to substantially lift wool sale volumes and farm gate returns. Primary Wool chair Richard Young said linking growers to consumers through a more integrated supply chain with the scale of both companies will help break the industry model that has failed growers for many years. WNZ chief executive John McWhirter adds, “we are going to increase demand for wool by creating viable commercial business models that will endure over time.”
Tag: Wool, Farmers & Producers
A Pukekohe vegetable grower Harry Das says that with independent fruit and vegetable stores unable to open, his crops will be left in the ground to rot. Das grows 100 hectares of vegetables for independent stores and restaurants and says if lockdown continues past this week, he will lose around 60 to 70% of his lettuce crop. Das adds he cannot sell to supermarkets as they have their preferred suppliers and his lettuce supply to restaurants like McDonald’s is wasted during lockdown.
Tag: Covid-19 Farmers & Producers
Pacific calls to protect 'lucrative' kava production [23 August, One News]
There is a push for traditional kava growing countries in the Pacific to ban the export of "beverage grade" plant cuttings after Australia doubled allowances into the country from two kilograms to four. The Pasifika Kava Forum is encouraging trade officials to list the plant as a "specific Pacific product" to protect the market share in sectors such as beverage and nutri-pharmaceuticals. "There is a need for us as Pacific Islanders to protect this plant for the Pacific region. It is our intellectual property," forum founder Fe'iloakitau Kaho Tevi says.
Tag: Policy and Regulation, Food Marketing
'Recognition for forestry's highest achievers in 2021' [23 August, Voxy]
The New Zealand Forester of the Year award presented by Minister of Forestry Hon Stuart Nash was awarded to Paul Millen to acknowledge his outstanding contribution to the forestry sector. Millen is described as a visionary with the ability to bridge both academic and industry groups. He understands the science and can communicate this to people from professional foresters to tree enthusiasts. It is reported that the forestry sector remains a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy in what has been an exceptionally volatile year for many.
Tag: Forestry, Honours & Awards
Animal Law Association lobster complaint upheld by parliamentary committee [23 August, Stuff]
A complaint lodged with Parliament’s Regulations Review Committee over commercial lobster slaughter practices last year has been upheld and will be amended. The committee agreed with the Animal Law Association's position that freezing lobsters before slaughter was not consistent with the objectives and intentions of the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Current recommendations say the tabletop electrical stunners developed for use in the restaurant trade are the preferred method of commercial slaughter.
Tag: Animal Welfare, Policy and Regulation
Taranaki-based medicinal cannabis start-up seeks public listing on NZX [24 August, Stuff]
A Taranaki-based medicinal cannabis business, Greenfern, has applied to have their shares quoted on the NZX main board, providing new capital and growth opportunities to drive objectives in New Zealand and overseas. Greenfern Industries board Philip Brown said the global market for medicinal cannabinoids is expected to surpass NZ$100 billion by 2028 as “we seek to showcase Taranaki and its pure and natural environments on a global scale once all of the regulatory and licencing is in place.”
Tag: Horticulture, Agribusiness
Westland caters to Chinese bakers [23 August, Farmers Weekly]
The two-year collaboration between Westland Dairy Company Limited and parent company Yili has produced cream with a consistency suitable for Chinese bakers. It is reported that Chinese whipping cream is produced with milk from dairy cows commonly housed in feedlots which are different to NZ’s nutrient-dense, grass fed product. Westland Milk chief executive Richard Wyeth says the China-New Zealand collaboration takes a global mindset and a local development approach to dairy innovation.
Tag: Dairy, Food Innovation, Food Marketing, Trade & Exports
Migrant farm workers from Asian nations could soon be brought to Australia under a dedicated agriculture visa which would apply to skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers, and exist alongside Pacific farm labour schemes. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said it will bring “the next generation of migrants to rural Australia, to grow agriculture and grow regional Australia” as available jobs include meat processing, fishery and forestry sectors, as well as fruit and vegetable picking and other farm jobs.
Tag: International, Policy and Regulation
Service Foods bolsters board, signals growth [23 August, Food Ticker]
Family-owned wholesaler Service Foods has appointed two ex-KPMG employees an external chairman, Ross Buckley, and commercial director, Richard Campbell, to establish their first complete board structure. In a statement, the foodservice specialist said, their appointment “is an outstanding result to bolster both our board and executive team, and they both bring a history of delivering results in people and culture-driven organisations.” They added that they are excited “to work with us on the next stage of our journey and to have the opportunity to contribute to our next phase of growth.”
Maersk accelerates fleet decarbonisation with new vessel order [25 August, Reuters]
A.P. Moller-Maersk have ordered eight vessels that can run on carbon-neutral methanol to accelerate the decarbonisation of their fleet and meet stronger customer demand for greener transportation. The vessels will be 10-15% more expensive than normal ones and will each cost US$175 million, Maersk's head of fleet technology Ole Graa Jakobsen said. He adds the new vessels will result in annual CO2 emissions savings of around 1 million tonnes or close to a 3% reduction, as last year Maersk emitted 33 million tonnes of CO2.
Tag: International, Trade & Exports
Seeka delivers profitable first half [24 August, Farmers Weekly]
Listed produce company Seeka Limited has exceeded market expectations by increasing net profit before tax by 77% to NZ$30.8 million in the six months ended June 30, 2021. Group revenue in the six-month period was NZ$224 million, up 26%, leading to an increase in share price from NZ$5 to NZ$5.20 and an increase in interim dividends from 10 cents a share to 13c a share. Several investments were made throughout the year, including Opotiki Packing, Cold Storage, Fruitometry, and post-harvest capacity, including an automated packline and high-efficiency coolstores.
Velvet ‘track and trace’ kicks in [24 August, Farmers Weekly]
This season, all deer farmers selling velvet must be registered with the deer industry’s new VelTrak system to meet the new mandatory process kicking in for the 2021-22 season. The new electronic track and trace system is set to make life easier for deer farmers while also providing proof of integrity as farmers won’t be required to record tag numbers, fill out paper velvet status declarations, or have a scanner. “It will enhance our reputation as trusted producers when marketing our velvet to health food companies in China, Taiwan and elsewhere,” DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat said.
Tag: Red Meat, Agritech, Trade & Exports
More details emerge on NZ-UK deal [24 August, Farmers Weekly]
A deadline for the New Zealand-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement has been set for the end of August, which has increased the pressure of work for negotiators. British trade secretary Liz Truss says dairy, apple, honey and wine industries would benefit from the deal as tariffs are likely to reduce to zero over several years. Additionally, tariffs on British exports to NZ, such as motor vehicles, would lose the tariffs when they enter this country. Truss said both countries are fans of each other’s products as trade between the two was worth around GBP£2.3 billion (NZ$4.6 billion) annually.
Tag: Trade & Exports Policy and Regulation
Early corporate proponent of regenerative agriculture, Danone, signalled their intention to tackle emissions through regenerative practices back in 2017 and now, the company’s VP of agriculture, procurement and sustainability, Yann-Gaël Rio, explains how they are being implemented on the ground. Rio sees the opportunity to link insetting back to regenerative practices with animal manure used to build soil health in local ecosystems. He explains “the carbon neutral dairy farm will happen through improvements of farm operations to reduce the footprint – and at the same time an offsetting or insetting strategy.”
Tag: International, Environment & Emissions
Ministers Commit To Protect Food Systems, Launch Food Security Roadmap [19 August, Scoop]
Agriculture and food ministers from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies reaffirmed their commitment to the food system by launching a 10-year food security roadmap which has four key areas of focus: digitalisation and innovation, productivity, inclusivity, sustainability. The roadmap details goals and key action areas where APEC is well placed to help ensure people always have access to sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle.
Tag: International, Food Security
Agritech startup AgNext raises $21 million in Series A financing [19 August, Mint]
Agritech startup AgNext Technologies, founded in 2016, has raised US$21 million as part of their Series A funding round led by the Alpha Wave Incubation fund. Their newly raised capital will allow AgNext to enter newer commodities, strengthen their pan-India presence and expand to international markets, including the Middle East, Europe, and South Asia. The startup provides deep-tech-enabled food quality assessment, monitoring, and management solutions to solve quality-related issues in the post-harvest agriculture value chain.
Tag: International, Agritech
Opportunities for ‘climate-smart fisheries’ identified [23 August, Food Navigator]
According to a new report from WWF, Marine Conservation Society and RSPB, Climate-smart fisheries can change the fate of the oceans and thrive amid heightened consumer interest in sustainable seafood. The strategy outlined in the report to reduce carbon emissions directly from the UK fishing fleet is to enhance marine biodiversity by reducing the damage from unsustainable fishing practices and increase the potential for UK seas to act as a carbon sink by protecting blue carbon habitats. The report also shows that governments often overlook fisheries in strategies to address climate and nature crises.
Tag: International, Fisheries, Environment & Emissions
Food industry supply chain chaos result of Brexit, British poultry association says [19 August, Sky News]
According to British Poultry Council chief executive Richard Griffiths, the poultry industry is facing extreme labour shortages due to Brexit, causing restaurants including Nando’s and KFC to adjust or cancel their services. Griffiths said the poultry industry is responsible for producing half of all the meat eaten in the UK, and currently, the sector is reporting vacancies of over 16%. The British Poultry Council has called on the government to include poultry meat supply chain workers on the skilled worker/shortage occupation list of people allowed to work in the country to solve the labour shortage, says Griffiths.
Tag: International, Poultry, Trade & Exports
Get in touch
|Audit – Auckland
09 367 5882
|Management Consulting – Wellington
04 816 4845
|Agri-Food – Auckland
09 363 3502
|Private Enterprise – Hamilton
07 858 6519
|Agri-Food – Auckland
09 367 5969
|Consultant – South Island
03 307 0761
Farm Enterprise – South Island
Field Notes Administrator