Silver Fern Farms & Federation of Maori Authorities Combine
Silver Fern Farms & Federation of Maori Authorities Join
New Zealand’s largest meat producers’ co-operative Silver Fern Farms and the Federation of Maori Authorities are joining forces to provide further opportunity and benefit to Maori dry stock farmers, who make up a large proportion of the Federation’s membership base.
The relationship has been forming for some time and has been consummated by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the respective CEOs of the two organisations in Tauranga today. This will see Silver Fern Farms become a key sponsor of the Federation’s annual conference and its key primary sector fora.
Federation CEO TeHoripo Karaitiana is excited about the
opportunities this will present to its farming members, many
of whom are already part of the Silver Fern Farms
“We have agreed to work on initiatives that will deliver real, measurable benefit to those members who wish to participate,” he said. “That doesn’t require them to change their allegiances to other processors but will at least provide them with the opportunity to come to some understanding of the sustainable practices that are driving the Silver Fern Farms business model and building greater resilience in their co-operative base.”
The joint plan that the two parties have committed to
initially will focus on:
· Developing farm systems (through FarmIQ)
· Leveraging collective scale
· Leveraging collective influence
· Developing the capacity and capability of people and communities
“We will be working on the detail of these initiatives and advising our membership base about the opportunities they will have to participate,” Karaitiana said. “We will make this as inclusive as possible.”
There are approximately 950,000 hectares of productive
rural land in Maori hands, two-thirds of it in pasture
supporting dry stock operations. Almost 90% of that land is
under the governance of 363 mostly Ahu Whenua Trusts or
Incorporations which either are members of the Federation or
are eligible to be.
These entities represent the core of the Maori agri-business sector that has lifted its performance noticeably over the past five years. They have been significant benefactors of the commodity boom that has been a key contributor to the growth in the New Zealand economy over recent years.
Silver Fern Farms acknowledge the Maori contribution to this uplift, and also that Maori farmers take a long-term, inter-generational view that makes them reliable and durable development partners. That inter-generational view is something they have in common with very many of the Silver Fern Farms’ whanau, and sustainable farming is a guiding belief for the company according to Silver Fern Farms Chief Executive Keith Cooper.
“There are strong synergies between us. We
are proudly ‘100% Made of New Zealand’ and this
partnership will strengthen that belief, as it will our
belief in sustainable farming,” Mr Cooper said.
“We see a great opportunity to weave the rich Maori heritage into our branding on premium products to create value with high end global customers.”
has a strong focus on people. We will develop skills in
order to grow the productive capability of Māori Authority
farm businesses. There will be good mutual benefit from an
increased supply of livestock to the sector, and by the
integration of information from plate to pasture, through
The Federation in turn acknowledges the solid platform that the Silver Fern Farms provides through its scale, and the opportunity it presents through its horizontal integration and its reach in to growing off-shore markets.
“We have focussed very hard for some
years now on optimising production and quality to the farm
gate,” Karaitiana said. “Silver Fern Farms provide a
safe passage further along the value chain for those Maori
farmers that wish to develop a greater understanding with a
view to becoming more active in this area.”
Silver Fern Farms is NZ’s leading procurer, processor and marketer of lamb, beef and venison, producing 30% of these meat products annually. It represents more than 16,000 sheep, beef and venison farmers, and employs 7000 people at the peak of production at its 22 sites around the country. Its annual turnover is approximately $2.2 billion.
The Federation, the leading Maori business network that recently celebrated its 25-year anniversary, has over 100 members with assets worth in the vicinity of $7 billion. Its reason for being is to help its members prosper and grow.
The two parties are committed to “building our industry in our country”, and will do this in ways that are sustainable and help grow people and build communities, the MoU states: “It makes sense that we work together; we each have a national legacy, the courage to create history and work for the collective good – and to work to a long-term time horizon.”