Facing Up To The Challenges Of The 21st Century

  • John Luxton
Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control

Capitalising on our natural advantage

Ladies and gentlemen, Ruapehu Federated Farmers members, President Jim Walker, guests...

Addressing the Otago Feds Annual Conference earlier this week I started with a question: Should New Zealand farmers support free trade reforms?

The answer to this question is, I hope, obvious to all. New Zealand farmers are free traders, and have been for a very long time and do support it.

The realities of globalisation mean long-run falling commodity prices, growing consumerism and the rise of food security issues, the impact of technology, and the entrance of new competitor nations to our markets. These are all matters we as an industry are forced to develop responses to.

Declining commodity prices

You will most probably have seen this graph several times before. It makes sobering viewing and shows, possibly more than anything else, why it is that New Zealand needs to develop new competitive strategies for the 21st century.

The only solution is to add value to the agricultural sector through innovation. Innovation is a driving force for economic growth.

New Zealand is known as a nation of innovators with our number 8 wire kiwi ingenuity. In future, our ability to create wealth will not be bound by physical limits but by our ability to come up with new ideas. The opportunities are unlimited. Solving problems