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Farmers need to get rid of the ‘old blazers’

Media Release

For immediate use

Farmers need to get rid of the ‘old blazers’

3 December 2007

Primary producers are right to expect, and demand, more of their leaders, participants were told at last weeks 20/20 Primary Industries Summit in Christchurch.

As international brand strategist and summit presenter Brian Richards said, it is time “to sack the old blazers that run the club and understand what is happening along the value chain.’

Western Southland farmer Mark Crawford, who attended the summit, agreed with this.

“The summit confirmed what I learnt on the Fame course last year, that the consumer is King, or more often Queen, and we must match our products with changing consumer demands.

“There is a huge global change occurring in consumer attitude - they are getting older, wealthier and more concerned about their health and the environment.

“Food products need to be nutritious, easy to prepare, not leave a large carbon footprint on our planet and it must tell a good story,” Mr Crawford said.

It is the high-end consumer that must be targeted in order to maximise premiums and guarantee a sustainable return to NZ farmers, he said.

“In terms of offering hope – the summit undeniably confirmed the huge potential for many primary industries, but especially the sheep industry, where potential is barely being realised.

“From a meat cooperative prospective we need to wake up and smell the coffee. It is hard to express how deeply most of the primary sector is in denial.

“We need to focus on adding value rather than increasing volume and currently we are lacking the vision to add value to our products.

“We need to be setting a goal of a $100 lamb and set out a plan of how to get there.”

Already ANZCO and North Island meat company First Light have a strategy in place which sees both privately owned meat companies work to a ‘vertical’ value chain i.e.; consumer to producer.

While much of the content of the summit was not new to Mr Crawford, it did confirm what he has already identified.

“The problem is, that it is not being taken up by our meat industry leaders.

“The existing cooperative model is focused on processing where it should be using dynamic marketing people with talent and a ‘can-do’ attitude.”

Despite the current reality facing his industry, Mr Crawford was excited about the underlying message behind the summit.

“We have a strong future if we have the right leadership. The foundations for success are in place already but we cannot move forward without much needed change.”

Note: Food & Agribusiness Market Experience (FAME).


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