Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Address to the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture

Hon Nathan Guy
Minister for Primary Industries


5 March 2014


Speech notes for address to the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture


Good afternoon everyone. It is a pleasure to be here in Riyadh this week, as part of a week-long visit to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Last year the Government launched the NZ Inc Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Strategy, which outlines New Zealand’s plans for further developing strong government and private sector relationships with the GCC.

The three key goals of this five year strategy are to build strong and enduring political relationships with the GCC; expand trade and economic relationships with region; and enhance our connectivity with the region.

Although we have been engaging with the Gulf States over many years, this Strategy puts us at the starting point of a deeper, more complementary relationship.

My visit this week, and similar visits of my ministerial colleagues, most recently Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully in January, is a key part of this strategy.

These visits are an opportunity to build on already well-established relationships with key agricultural and food export markets for New Zealand.

New Zealand’s trade with the GCC is strong – in 2013 our total two-way trade was $4.82 billion ($1.42 billion in exports; 3.39 billion in imports) - but there is potential to improve this.

While New Zealand has been exporting food and beverage products to this region for more than 30 years, this part of the world is still new to many of our food and beverage (F&B) and agribusiness companies, and the opportunities here are significant.

The New Zealand dairy industry has had a presence in this part of the world for nearly 40 years.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of opening a new Fonterra distribution warehouse in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This new and significant investment recognises the significant growth opportunities in the region and will allow Fonterra to hub into the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

Food security is high on the agendas of the GCC members. The scarcity of water and arable land (on average less than 1.5% of the land mass of GCC countries), growing populations, rising food demand, and vast imports, have led to attempts to solve food security vulnerabilities by looking for partnership and investment opportunities with other countries.

In this regard New Zealand, as a world leading agricultural producer, is a natural partner for the GCC.

Our background and long history of agriculture production and technology has the potential to contribute to the food security solutions of the GCC countries.

New Zealand has developed world-leading farm practices and approaches to fisheries management, advanced food technologies, among the strongest food brands, and a reputation for outstanding quality.

It is for this reason that the New Zealand Government has committed $6 million to establish an agribusiness service hub here in Saudi Arabia.

I visited the site for the agribusiness service hub and demonstration farm in Dammam yesterday.

Once completed this will be the first of its kind for New Zealand. This farm development of these sandy plains is impressive. It will comprise 15 centre pivot irrigators, a feed mill, a sheep breeding operation, a lamb and cattle finishing feedlot, and processing facility.

The demonstration farm will also be a model for vertical integration, from cropping to fresh meat supply to the local market. It will be a full showcase of New Zealand agritech including technical services, farming systems, animal health, on-farm equipment, genetics and farm expertise. New Zealand will also provide a genetics programme which will include animals for breeding.

The scale of this farm, and the potential for New Zealand, is significant. A broad range of New Zealand agribusiness companies are expected to be involved in the demonstration farm and it is hoped that the first services will be installed in Damman by mid-2014.

In addition to being a substantial investment and project in its own right, it is also expected that this demonstration farm will create other opportunities for New Zealand in this market, fast track partnerships between New Zealand and GCC businesses, and quite possibly open up significant opportunities for New Zealand companies elsewhere in the Arab world. I envisage that this will also provide a much stronger market presence for the export of chilled lamb from New Zealand to Saudi Arabia.

Following on from the visit to Dammam yesterday, where I also visited Saudi New Zealand Milk Products (SNZMP) a wholly owned Fonterra production site producing five different product types and exporting to 30 countries across the region, earlier today I signed a protocol with the Ministry of Agriculture in Saudi Arabia providing the framework for exports of livestock for breeding purposes.

Saudi Arabia is New Zealand’s largest trading partner in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and this arrangement seeks to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.

The protocol will regulate the export of live sheep, goats and cattle from New Zealand to Saudi Arabia for breeding purposes. It covers animal welfare requirements relating to either sea or air freight, and contains a guarantee that the animals will be allowed to disembark upon reaching their destination.

While New Zealand ceased exporting live sheep for slaughter in 2003, the export of livestock for breeding purposes has continued to grow with cattle, sheep and horses all shipped or air freighted every year. New Zealand has agreed livestock import health conditions with dozens of countries. Dairy cows are mainly sea freighted to China where just over 35,000 were exported in 2013. Sheep exports for breeding averaged around 400 a year and nearly 3,000 race horses are air freighted annually.

Following this signing, it is expected that the first research breeding flock of sheep from New Zealand will be air freighted before Christmas in order to commence the new Saudi hub operation. The protocol signed today is a key part of ensuring the success of the agribusiness hub in Dammam, and cementing in our future relationship with Saudi Arabia.

My inaugural visit to the Gulf this week has given me huge insight into the Arab world, and the desire for GCC countries to build relationships with New Zealand.

I look forward to seeing New Zealand become a partner of choice for the region.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

More Evidence - Scoop Press Conference Recordings:
PM's Post-Cab Presser 8/8/11
"at that point [Tucker] told me he'd release it ..."

Hager Revelations: Inquiry Into NZSIS Release Of Goff Docs

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gwyn, announced she would be instituting an inquiry concerning allegations that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) might have released official information to Mr Cameron Slater, regarding briefings provided to the then Leader of the Opposition, for political purposes...

“I am satisfied there is a sufficient public interest justifying the commencement of an own-motion inquiry into the substance of the issues raised with my Office,” said Ms Gwyn. More>>

Goff: Director’s Letter Contradicts Key’s Claims

At yesterday’s media standup, when asked on the topic John Key said ‘I wasn’t told’...
“In a letter dated November 2011 former SIS director Warren Tucker states three times that ‘in accordance with the usual practice of keeping the minister informed’ the Prime Minister had been told. More>>


 

Parliament Today:

Schools, PPTA Sign Up: Primary Teachers And Principals Vote Down Govt Plan

Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Usual Round Of Mud Slinging And Name-Calling

This week gave an interesting example of how hard it is to untangle the reality from the slanging matches. The issue that emerged early this week could hardly be more important. Does the government intend to cut spending in health, education and on the environment if re-elected, or not? More>>

Earlier:

Electionresults.co.nz: National and NZ First Rise in Roy Morgan Poll

National has bounced back in the latest Roy Morgan Poll but the big winner has been New Zealand First who rise to their highest level of support since September 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Fish Pun Warning: By Hoki! It’s Labour’s Fisheries Policy

A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. More>>

ALSO:

It's Official: Governor General Gives Direction To Conduct Election

The Governor General has signed the writ directing the Electoral Commission to conduct the General Election on 20 September 2014. This is the formal authority to run the 2014 election, and enables candidate nominations to open tomorrow Thursday 21 August 2014. More>>

Gordon Campbell: No More Mr Nice Guy

When future historians seek to identify the exact moment when the prime ministerial career of John Key hit the downward slope, they may well point to Key’s interview yesterday with Guyon Espiner on RNZ’s Morning Report. More>>

ALSO:

Dirty (Politics) Weekend: Collins’ Admission Reason For Key To Act

"Despite claiming that the evidence about her in Nicky Hager's book was ‘false’ Judith Collins has now been forced to admit that she did send information about a Ministerial Services staff member to Cameron Slater for him to use in a baseless smear campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Potential Disasters: Underground Coal Fire On Denniston Plateau

Forest & Bird says one or more coal fires have broken out beneath the Denniston Plateau, and that the Department of Conservation (DOC) must stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work going on there until the fire or fires are extinguished. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news