Launching into the New Year, we find while we were away Federated Farmers’ Meat Industry Options discussion paper that has been circulating to its members was released more generally in early January. The results of the survey are expected next month, but it is providing good thinking to launch the industry off into 2014.
Broadly, the well written paper well from Feds policy advisor Sarah Crofoot covers three sections covering different options: behaviour-focused; processor-focused; and marketing-focused. It also acknowledges that venison is processed alongside beef and lamb. Almost the next step up from the Red Meat Sector Strategy – which is referred to in the past tense although it is still guiding meat industry realignment – the paper aims to give farmers informed background to discussions. It throws everything in and considers changing supplier behaviour, the ‘Fonterra model’ and the differences between a commodity-based industry like dairy versus value-added, co-opetition market engagement, tradeable slaughter rights, toll processing, the formation of a New Zealand meat institute modelled on the Uruguayan INAC organisation, New Zealand meat processors being bought by overseas buyers, collaborating with Australian producers and even aligning Northern and Southern Hemisphere production, among others.
The paper concludes by encouraging producers to decide what is important and how they’d like industry to look in five, 10 or 20 years time. They are urged to select a meat processing company to commit to that reflects their own view.
“The OECD-FAO expects world meat exports to increase by 19 percent by 2022, so the need for reform has never been clearer,” remarked Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chair Jeanette Maxwell. “The OECD_FAO said last year that meat prices will remain high in real terms over the next decade. This was due to changing market fundamentals of slower production growth and stronger demand and represents the opportunity we have.
“What New Zealanders need to understand is that red meat could be so much more,” she said.
“A central message of our paper is for greater co-operation. While we fight each other, we’re missing the point that global protein competition comes from white meat.”
Federated Farmers wishes to be informed by feedback that is coming back from members and now the wider industry before “plumping for a preferred option,” says Maxwell. Personally, she’s excited about the style of the Uruguayan meat institute, INAC.
“Uruguay has the most precise handle on meat industry performance anywhere in the world and that’s led to an enviable world-beating red meat industry.
“Given INAC promotes co-ordination along the entire meat chain to fund business alternatives that add value to products, it is the type of legislative intervention which could massively boost our industry without costing the taxpayer a cent.
“With the Red Meat Profit Partnership looking inside the farmgate for better farm performance, our paper shows how farmers are looking outside the farmgate for ways to boost the wider industry,” says Maxwell.