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Anderton Hits Target

15 September 2006

Anderton Hits Target

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton is correct when he says that pastoral producers must aim to supply high value products in high value markets, said Charlie Pedersen, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

“Farmers and processors have known this for years. The dairy farmers that own Fonterra know this well and have more invested in their product beyond the farm gate than any other farmers in the world. Farmers have invested in a wide range of products either for the ingredient market or the wealthy individual consumer. The issue is one of capturing the best return.

“This can only be achieved through using science, innovation and extension to build on our comparative advantage. The importance of science and extension and innovative marketing are critical. There is no daylight between the farmers and the minister on this important point,” Mr Pedersen said.

Mr Pedersen’s comments follow a press release by Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton. In the release, the minister correctly concluded that as a country we must make the most of what we have to sell, rather than try to compete at the bottom of the market. The minister’s press release followed a speech by Mr Pedersen (available at www.fedfarm.org.nz).

“The point of my speech was to explode some of the myths around agriculture and the environment. It was also to emphasise that there is no one single market strategy. In no way am I suggesting that we – to use the minister’s words – race to the bottom. I am surprised that anyone could take that message from my speech.”

The trick going forward is for farmers to continually improve their environmental stewardship while at the same time improving productivity, profitability and links to the market, Mr Pedersen said.

“The government can do its bit in helping producers by giving support for research and development initiatives, and providing the right regulatory framework that helps exporters do what they do best: earn foreign exchange to pay the nation’s bills,” he said.

ENDS

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