An increasing global focus on food security, along with
strong trade links, are the key to future competitiveness of
New Zealand agriculture, a newly released industry report
In its Agriculture in Focus 2013 report, Rabobank identified
key opportunities and challenges for the competitiveness of
agricultural commodities in the year ahead.
Overall, the report found the outlook remained ''generally
robust'', despite some ongoing challenges to competitiveness.
Global supply and demand fundamentals indicated an increased
reliance on exportable supplies in 2013, which should help
bolster local prices, largely offsetting the currency drag
from the high dollar, it said.
However, the report cautioned that maintaining
competitiveness was ''vital'' to take full advantage of the
Chief among the opportunities were those presented by the
pressing global need to provide food security to
rapidly-expanding and increasingly wealthy populations,
particularly in Asian economies.
Like Australia, New Zealand was well placed to increase the
volume of agricultural exports to Asia, due to its
competitive advantages, including superior product quality,
developed trade linkages and geographic proximity.
Extracting and retaining maximum value for that production,
along with maintaining and developing competitive advantages,
would be key to ongoing growth in exports, Rabobank senior
analyst Hayley Moynihan said.
But New Zealand was not the only country ''eyeing the
opportunities'' presented by the increasing food demand from
a rising Asian middle class and maintaining competitiveness
Food safety was also an important factor identified. Plagued
by local food safety issues, many trading partners were
seeking the assurance of high quality imported food and
agricultural products, Ms Moynihan said.
New Zealand's strength in international trade links with key
importing markets was expected to be a distinct competitive
advantage for the country's agricultural exporters.
A key focus was the ongoing negotiations with Russia, Belarus
and Kazakhstan to form a Free Trade Agreement.
Last week, The New Zealand Herald reported China's Yashili
had entered into a conditional agreement to buy industrial
land for a proposed infant milk formula plant at Pokeno, 50km
south of Auckland.
Yashili New Zealand Dairy was awaiting Overseas Investment
Office approval to proceed with the $210 million project.
Annual production was planned to be 52,000 tonnes of finished
and semi-finished milk product annually.
If construction was approved, the plant's demand for milk
would ''certainly present a challenge'' to current
manufacturers, Prof William Bailey, from the department of
agriculture at Western Illinois University said, in the
latest ASB Commodities Weekly.