Over 250 delegates, drawn from processing, farmers, service companies, shippers, economists, and government officials, crammed into the Rydges Lakeland Resort hotel on Monday 16 July for an absolutely packed itinerary of presentations from 17 excellent speakers – several of them from overseas – all with inspirational and thought-provoking messages.
The veritable smorgabord of information, mustered back into its time slots by some able session chairmen, revealed recurrent themes of massive potential for New Zealand meat in emerging markets in Asia, especially China, water issues, the need to engage in best practice, to tell the industry’s story to the public and the rapid, mind-boggling change the emergence of social media has wrought on getting those messages out there.
The first early shoots of progress on the Red Meat Sector Strategy (RMSS) were evident too, not as fast as some would like, but it’s a start. Nearly a quarter of billion dollars of industry-government money is being spent on re-shaping and vertically integrating some parts of the red meat chain over the next seven years through Primary Growth Partnerships (PGP) programmes. These are alone forecast to add somewhere in the region of $3 billion to the country’s GDP by the mid-2020s. Meanwhile B+LNZ Economic Service’s team, under the guidance of Rob Davidson, have been developing a natty set of matrices that will enable industry to see how it is progressing along the Strategy’s path (more of that later).
Delegates will be picking out of it what they need. They were certainly upbeat and eager to hear more right to the last speaker of the business sessions, Nigel Latta, who talked about behavioural change and how to make it.
There is no doubt that more is bound to come from discussions at conference and later. Well done to the joint organisers, the Meat Industry Association and Beef+Lamb NZ Ltd.
A more full report will appear in Food NZ August/September 2012 magazine in early August and MeatExportNZ will be covering other items emanating from the conference over the coming week or so. You can find most of the presentations already up online at the MIA website, along with the programme.