Meat & Livestock News

Navigating Market Changes and Technological Innovations: A Roadmap for New Zealand’s Agriculture Sector

Graph Falling Down in Front Of New Zealand Flag. Crisis Concept

Speaking at the recent New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association conference in Auckland, Ian Proudfoot, the head of agribusiness at KPMG, offered a comprehensive outlook on the future of New Zealand’s agriculture sector.

He underscored the necessity for market diversification and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies in an ever-evolving global environment.

Proudfoot pointed out that supermarkets’ low pricing strategies are a hard reality, putting the onus on farmers to ensure that food prices genuinely reflect the labour and resources invested in production.

He also highlighted the need to align with consumer preferences, whether it’s in terms of product quality, packaging, or even the distribution channels used. This could mean making choices like blending meat products with pulses instead of offering them in a 100% pure form.

In terms of market agility, Proudfoot noted that while no single company in New Zealand’s agricultural sector is outpacing the others, some have demonstrated greater flexibility in adapting to market shifts.

He drew attention to the significant changes in the Chinese market, urging New Zealand businesses to think beyond China and consider a broader range of market options.

He stressed the importance of forging ahead with free trade agreements and suggested that efforts in markets like India should be expedited, particularly as Australia is already establishing a foothold there.

Proudfoot also warned New Zealand exporters to keep an eye on new competitors entering the scene, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Both nations are keen to secure their food supply and are investing in disruptive technologies to cultivate food in their challenging climates.

On the technology front, Proudfoot called for rapid advancements in biological sciences, advocating for regulatory frameworks that enable the use of lighter chemicals and gene-editing technologies. He urged the sector to be receptive to artificial intelligence and to invest in automation and robotics.

This approach, he believes, will not only drive efficiency but also contribute to workforce development within the sector. He concluded by emphasising the need for transparency to build consumer trust, advising agricultural businesses to be forthright about their practices and to substantiate their claims with solid data.

By staying nimble and embracing both technological innovation and market diversification, New Zealand’s agricultural sector is better positioned to navigate the complex challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.