Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Agility and innovation essential for meat exporters

May 24, 2020

The days of bemoaning our meat exporters’ lack of flexibility when everything was exported as frozen carcases are now a distant memory. Even the days of growing the profitable chilled lamb business without upsetting the EU authorities are receding into the distant past, as meat marketers cope with the complexities of marketing to previously time poor, technologically sophisticated consumers around the world now living in lockdown without ready access to restaurants.

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Differing responses to wage subsidy scheme

May 6, 2020

The country’s meat processors have followed two distinctly different paths in response to the government’s wage subsidy scheme which is available to all businesses for 12 weeks, providing they can substantiate a 30% drop in revenue during the period. Silver Fern Farms, Alliance, ANZCO, Taylor Preston and Blue Sky Meats have all claimed the subsidy to varying extents, whereas AFFCO, Greenlea and Wilson Hellaby have decided it is not justified or necessary, at least partly on ethical grounds. (more…)

Overseas markets holding up

April 30, 2020

In a recent conversation, Alliance CEO David Surveyor described world red meat markets by comparing them to traffic lights. Contrary to the evidence earlier in the year, when buyers stopped buying because of Chinese New Year closely followed by the Covid-19 shutdown, China has emerged as the brightest light with the traffic lights firmly set on green. The composition of Chinese orders has changed since the virus outbreak with retail and online sales growing considerably, while there are signs of hot pot outlets starting to reopen. (more…)

Meat industry performing well under Level 4

April 9, 2020

Processing is under severe constraints during the lockdown, although, as an essential service, meat companies are working hard to feed New Zealanders and service key export markets. In a newsletter to staff and suppliers, AFFCO states that processing restrictions on maintaining a minimum distance between employees means sheepmeat capacity is running at 50% of normal and beef capacity is close to 65%. This of course comes at the peak of the season, exacerbated by drought in several regions, particularly the top half of the North Island. (more…)

Time takes on whole new perspective

April 8, 2020

My last few columns have dealt with the potential impact of Covid-19 on world trade, exports to China and meat processors, but suddenly in the last two weeks the virus has become the main factor in our lives. What was previously just a growing concern has, with alarming speed, destabilised the whole global economy with no certainty about how or when, even whether, it will revert to normal. (more…)

Meat industry in better shape today to cope with downturn

March 29, 2020

When I started to trawl through possible topics to write about this week, I had the bright idea it might be worth asking meat processors what contingency plans they have in place in case an employee, more particularly one on the processing floor, tests positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. So far my research suggests it’s not yet an issue that has received a great deal of consideration by many companies, although it’s certainly on their radar. (more…)

Covid-19 a major test for government

March 15, 2020

Newspaper headlines driving panic buying in Auckland supermarkets suggest either we are all facing an existential threat or, more likely, a small percentage of the population is reacting like idiots, presumably stocking up large in case one Covid-19 case so far means they will have to self-isolate. (more…)

Brexit impact to drag on and on

September 20, 2019

Any hopes Brexit would be sorted this year are receding further into the distance with every new twist and there’s a strong chance the situation will have changed again by the time you read this. For obvious reasons I won’t make firm predictions about the likely outcome, because it’s impossible to predict which of several will eventuate, but it is possible to assess the long and short term risk factors for New Zealand exporters who must get on regardless with securing orders and satisfying customers. (more…)

Social licence to operate just as important as methane reduction

September 6, 2019

Amid all the debate about agriculture’s responsibility to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, and the appropriate levels for those targets, it may seem counterintuitive to claim an equally pressing problem is to earn a licence to operate. Just as great a threat to agriculture’s future is not whether it faces a potentially unachievable government imposed target, but a business environment in which consumers make their decisions based on their perception of the acceptability of the food they eat. (more…)

Government must provide leadership

August 23, 2019

In contrast to its positive social agenda to improve the average person’s lot by lifting the minimum wage, increasing teachers’ pay rates and attempting to increase home ownership, this government seems to have gone missing in action with respect to the farming sector. Apart from Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor’s rather lonely efforts as a cheerleader for agriculture, other government ministers only pop their heads above the parapet when there’s some good environmental news or forestry initiative to crow about, or a new, and scientifically flawed, methane reduction target to ask farmers to meet.  (more…)