Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) chairman, James Parsons says his recent meetings with European sheep and beef farming leaders have confirmed that the opportunities to cooperate to improve farm returns for farmers on both sides of the world are bigger than the areas for competition.
Parsons has recently returned from Europe where he completed the annual round of meetings with farmer organisations in the United Kingdom and Europe – his first as chairman of B+LNZ.
“A lot of good work has been put in over the years to build strong relationships with farmer groups in the UK and Europe and there is now a good understanding of the value of having lamb on supermarket shelves 12 months of the year and the role New Zealand lamb plays in that.
“Any issues with New Zealand lamb being sold in the European peak season are better understood these days and it’s acknowledged that it’s far better to cooperate on this for our collective interests.”
In the UK, Parsons was part of a panel discussion that included Meurig Raymond, president of the British National Farmers Union, and Mike Petersen New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Envoy, where he pressed home the importance of farmers focussing on what can be managed and achieved on-farm.
“Too much focus is given to price per head rather than profit per hectare, or production per hectare,” Parsons said.
Parsons was also clear about New Zealand’s ambitions for an economic partnership with the European Union, given the $77 million in tariffs paid on New Zealand red meat each year.
“New Zealand has been and continues to be a good partner to Europe, but is now one of six World Trade Organisation (WTO) members that the EU has not committed to developing an economic partnership with, so we’d like to see progress there, especially as the WTO has 160 members.
Supplied by B+LNZ.