Sicily a melting pot for food production

October 11, 2016

Sicily has been taken over by the Saracens, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans,  Swabia, Austro-Hungary and Spain, before Garibaldi led the rebellion that led to the unification of Italy under one monarch, Vittorio Emanuele I, in 1861. Each of the occupying powers has brought something different to the food and agricultural produce of this unique island. Read the rest of this entry »

Trade benefits need selling to New Zealanders

October 11, 2016

Just when we thought New Zealand was about to enjoy the benefits of several new agreements, not least TPP, the world appears to be growing more and more averse to signing up to trade deals. There is a distinct trend towards self-reliance and protectionism among countries that have up to now been champions of the benefits of free trade, most obviously sizable blocs of voters in the United States, EU and Great Britain exercising their democratic right to protest. Read the rest of this entry »

Trade access landscape increasingly crowded

August 17, 2016

At the same time as the TPP is struggling to get across the finish line before the next American President takes over early next year, there are several signs of access to the USA freeing up for some of New Zealand’s competitors.


The announcement of greatest significance concerns access for Brazilian beef after 17 years of negotiations which will be permitted to begin in September. Read the rest of this entry »

Silver Fern Farms shareholders vote conclusively in favour

August 17, 2016

The long awaited special meeting finally took place this afternoon with the company’s desired outcome. 80.4% of shareholders voting voted in favour of the Shanghai Maling deal, a small reduction from the 82% that voted in favour last October. Read the rest of this entry »

Clear vision for red meat sector in sight at last

August 17, 2016

After many years of relatively low levels of expenditure on market development and promotion, the red meat industry faces a major challenge in deciding how best to create the desired image to appeal to the world’s affluent consumers. Currently expenditure is divided between generic promotion, funded by farmer levies, and brand advertising by the meat exporters, with a small amount of joint funding in some of the less mature markets. Read the rest of this entry »

Resistance or resilience – which best characterises the red meat sector?

July 28, 2016

The Red Meat Sector Conference held in Auckland on Monday did not have one single theme, but a series of themes across the day, starting with the question ‘resistance or resilience?’ Past history suggests the answer might most logically be both rather than a choice between the two options. Read the rest of this entry »

Upbeat conference attracts 200+ delegates

July 28, 2016

The delegates at the 2016 Red Meat Sector Conference were challenged and entertained by a stimulating range of guest speakers and New Zealand icons the Topp Twins. Read the rest of this entry »

Profit warning makes Silver Fern Farms’ deal more critical

July 24, 2016

Last week’s profit warning from SFF chairman Rob Hewitt confirmed what industry observers suspected – this season has been affected by a combination of factors which has made achievement of the budgeted profit more remote than ever. At the half year Hewett had already warned the year end result would be materially different from budget without specifying numbers. The latest warning indicates break even at best. Read the rest of this entry »

Next season looking very uncertain

July 20, 2016

Last month I took a positive look at the prospects for New Zealand’s sheep and beef producers, based on the long-term outlook in global, especially Asian, markets. I drew attention to some caveats including market access, seasonality, exchange rates, the robustness of the cool chain and fluctuating demand. But what a difference a month makes! Read the rest of this entry »

UK referendum opens can of worms and some opportunities

July 6, 2016

The referendum on EU membership produced a result nobody really expected and nearly half the voters didn’t want, but now everyone has to plan for an uncertain future. There have even been suggestions the exit might not happen, unless the Westminster Parliament passes the required motion to activate the start of the exit process. It’s not worth thinking about the implications for British democracy, if that were to happen. Read the rest of this entry »