Howard's End: The Perfect New Zealand Product
I'm still unsure whether genetic engineering of our food is a good thing but, what I am sure of, we all have to eat to live. For decades, New Zealand has been well recognised globally for its reputation to produce good, safe food - shouldn't we be continuing along that already successful path? Maree Howard writes.
We are a niche-marketing country. I know of some small independent food producers and manufacturers who say they simply could not supply the size of the potential overseas markets.
Imagine a food buyer from one of the major chains in Europe or the U.S. fronting-up to a small food producer in New Zealand and asking, "I want to order 3 million jars of your product."
The common-sense point is, we can't even meet the market demands for our fabulous food now. So why are we embarking in another direction like GE food?
A little guy I know on the West Coast has just produced the most perfect all-purpose sauce that I have ever tasted. It goes with beef, chicken, lamb, pork and all the other sundry processed meats like luncheon sausage, hamburgers and salami's. It's a unique all natural product with a taste which I am raving about to my friends - having now tasted it, they agree with me.
He calls it Old Smokey All Purpose Sauce.
But hell, he's so small that he's just a home cottage industry and probably won't be able to meet local demands let alone the regional, national or international markets. He's just a guy who said - "I can do that!"
Ask yourself, why hundreds of thousands of overseas visitors come to New Zealand each year?
The answer is simply that we have retained what they have lost - farm animals grazing on open green fields, crops growing in an almost perfect environment, open spaces, a wonderful and friendly people living an excellent lifestyle, our beautiful scenery and, of course, our fabulous food.
I have heard overseas visitors to the West Coast exclaim, while munching on a freshly caught crayfish. "This country is perfect."
Let's face it, the world is an unsafe and uncertain place to live. If there is one thing we all need now, more than ever, it's stability, less aggro and a little more happiness in our lives.
In just the last few years people's life-styles have changed so much that houses are now being built without kitchens as we knew them. They are being built with kitchens which don't have stoves - just a convection microwave.
More and more people are eating food on the run and are looking for instant, wholesome and safe food - the perfect New Zealand product.
Fortunately, there are still thousands of Kiwi's who, despite the global doom and gloom, are just getting on with their lives - imagining, developing, learning, loving, caring, producing things and taking their rightful place in the world.
It's those people we should be encouraging.
It makes sense to me that instead of embarking on an entirely uncertain food-production direction, we should try to become better at what we already do best. The world will thank us for it.
And Old Smokey on the West Coast? Well, he'll just keep doing what he does best - producing a sensational natural sauce.