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Arable Food Industry Council Boosts Cereal Quality

More consistent products for consumers and lower costs are the likely results of a review of the arable industry by the Arable Food Industry Council.

The industry produces goods worth $1.5 billion a year.

The review was conducted in 1998 with the help of funding from Technology New Zealand.

It identified problems with presentation and transport.

Council secretary Lindsay Dick says these have now been addressed.

“Sometimes silos or trucks weren’t cleaned out properly between handling loads of different crops and product was being mixed up,” Mr Dick says.

“Nor was deterioration in storage and transport properly understood or documented.”

More information at each stage of the production chain is now helping solve the problems.

“Farmers are recording better what goes in, they're cleaning out better, and consumers can be more assured of consistently better quality.

It has also meant millers’ costs are coming down through less wastage and more consistent quality.”

The 1998 review included growers, merchants, millers, transport operators, feed processors, bakers and researchers in drawing up a 10-year plan for the sector.

The review focused on a shift from producing commodities “for the sake of it” to products intended for a specific purpose; stronger links and better communication among the various groups; greater use of technology and research; profitability throughout the whole sector; environmental sustainability; and development of a positive image of an industry that is market-focused, strong and confident, with an international food quality reputation.

Mr Dick says exports from arable crops have risen significantly over the past few years.

Examples include baking products, the value of which has risen from $28 million to $103 million in seven years.

New Zealand’s arable crops are also used in milling, pork and poultry production, malting and brewing, as well as pulses, forage and herbage crops.

The Arable Food Industry Council represents all arable sectors from growers through to millers and feed manufacturers.

Members include organisations representing those researching, producing, handling and using these crops across the production chain.

Mr Dick believes the council is the first in the world from such a broad base to speak as an “umbrella voice” for the arable industry of a country.

Caption: Arable Food Industry Council secretary Lindsay Dick: “Farmers are recording better what goes in, they're cleaning out better, and consumers can be more assured of consistently better quality.

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