Meat Industry Excellence has identified $8 a kg for lamb as
an aspirational goal. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
New Zealand's red meat industry has a large number of
Attempts to get support from some of them for an
industry-wide summit has now failed, which is hardly
Meat industry talks have already also failed, with what has
previously been described as an ''awfully big chunk'' not
wanting to discuss industry structure any further.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has made it clear he
is not prepared to intervene in private business matters
without broad sector support.
Meat Industry Excellence's chairman John McCarthy now says
farmers are on their own if they want to ''sort out'' the
But how much can farmers do - apart from the hardy annual of
committed supply - when they do not own a majority of the red
meat processing and exporting sector? The disparate ownership
of the sector, including those that are privately-owned,
makes it all very complicated.
As a next step - having shelved the summit idea - MIE says it
is ''drilling down on the metrics'' around the opportunities
for farmer incomes under a model with scale, stable
procurement patterns and in-market co-operation.
Only through farmers' ability to supply can they force a
collective change in the industry model, Mr McCarthy says.
MIE's intentions are well-meaning but changing the model when
such a diverse range of stakeholders are involved is not so
The only thing that is certain is that if some stability is
not brought to the red meat industry, the exodus of suppliers
It is easy at the moment, when the sector is going through
better times - with improved returns for farmers, better
balance sheets for companies signalled and constant rhetoric
about the demand from China - to take the foot off the pedal.
So Mr McCarthy is right when he says that, despite improved
returns, the fundamentals have not changed and that
roller-coaster pattern is why MIE exists.
Perhaps stability and sustainability in the industry is what