Sector strategy shows 'encouraging signs'

Bill Falconer
Bill Falconer
Meat Industry Association chairman Bill Falconer believes the red meat sector strategy has been "settling down extremely well" since its launch 14 months ago.

The strategy, initiated by the MIA and Beef and Lamb New Zealand, was aimed at improving the sector's viability and increasing its earnings from $8 billion to $14 billion by 2025.

Mike Petersen
Mike Petersen
Addressing the red meat sector conference in Queenstown last week, Mr Falconer said while some were looking for some pan-industry "silver bullet", the strategy was about an enduring and sustainable increase in profitability across the sector.

It was a strategy, not a blueprint, and it deliberately had medium to long-term objectives.

"We should not expect it to be moving at a rapid pace. There are some very encouraging signs that things are starting well.

"This is about lifting the game right across the value chain and lifting the game together," Mr Falconer said.

The conference focused on the three themes identified in the strategy - much greater collaboration in markets, strengthening the linkage between farmers and meat companies in the procurement area, and application of best practice across the sector, Beef and Lamb chairman Mike Petersen said.

It was clear in the strategy that if the ambitious goal of adding another $3.4 billion (or $420 per ha farmed), in real terms to the sector by 2025 was to be realised , "it won't be by looking to someone else to do that on our behalf".

It was not for Beef and Lamb or MIA to make the behaviour change which would realise that.

It was up to those attending the conference to undertake the changes required, he said.

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper said it was important, when examining what was to be achieved, to look at "who we are and what we are".

"We" meant farmers, processors, exporters, marketers, shipping companies - everybody in the value change.

To identify any single party or group as the solution was not going to work. It was about how to collectively change behaviours in the common interest of the sector, Mr Cooper said.

Looking back at the presentations and outcomes of the red meat sector conference in Rotorua a year ago, he suspected that "we haven't changed anything in the past year" and that was a sad indictment and a lost opportunity in his view.




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