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‘Do What We Do Do Well’ Says Prominent Scientist

Convention Forum To Put Sharp Focus On Agriculture’s Role In Economy

“A one percent increase in agriculture’s contribution to the New Zealand economy would result in more benefits than a 10 percent or more increment on any one of the smaller contributing industries,” says Professor Jacqueline Rowarth, Chair of the Primary Resource Committee of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

The Society is supporting an AGMARDT-sponsored Primary Resource Forum as part of the national Convention of the NZ Institute of Agricultural Science and NZ Society for Horticultural Science, being held at Lincoln University this coming week (27-29 June).

The forum, on Thursday 28 June, is this year a new focus within the Convention.

“Its aim is to give Ministers connected with science, education, research, biodiversity and the primary sector some soundly based ‘ammunition’ so they can help the funding crisis in the primary resources sector,” says Professor Rowarth.

“The whole economy picks up when agriculture does well and agriculture does well only when it is underpinned by a strong research base. This has been unequivocally proved in the past.

“Our position and way of life won’t be maintained unless that research is funded and continues and right now agricultural research is actually under threat of disinvestment with the prospect of money being syphoned off from the primary resources based CRI’s to support other sectors of the economy.

“It’s crazy. It’s like eating your seed potatoes,” says Professor Rowarth.

This year’s NZIAS and NZSHS Convention has the theme “The Thin Green Line? Enhancing Our Primary Resource Advantages” and the linking thread for the three days will be the implications for New Zealand’s primary resources sector of maintaining and expanding its share of an increasingly competitive global market.

Three keynote addresses are among the highlights of the Convention - on Wednesday the Agricultural Science Institute’s Paul Lynch Address by Dr Andrew West of NZQA and the Horticultural Science Society’s Rod Bieleski Address by Professor Snow Barlow of Melbourne University, and on Friday the NZ Society of Plant Physiology’s Annals of Botany Address by Christophe Maurel.

On Thursday night (28.6) a number of awards will be made including the Agricom (NZ Ltd) Significant Achievement Award which acknowledges the most recent significant contribution or contributions to the advancement of Canterbury agriculture/horticulture, plus a national award for achievement in the area of technical transfer. Several new fellowships of the two bodies will also be presented.

The convention is based in the Stewart Building at Lincoln University.

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