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Agri-food strategy a “Call to Arms”

Media Release
26 July 2012
Embargoed until Thursday 26 July 1pm
Agri-food strategy a “Call to Arms”

An independent report on the future of New Zealand’s agri-food sector is calling for a joint approach from industry and government to drive the activities needed to treble the value of exports by the sector by 2025.

The report contains options on how sector leaders can work together, and why industry should lead the strategy implementation work.

Commissioned by the Riddet Institute and developed by an independent team led by Dr Kevin Marshall, the report was prepared in response to a call by industry senior executives, who challenged the Institute in 2010 at its annual summit to develop a strategy for science and education-led economic advancement of the New Zealand food industry.

Dr Marshall said, “Our strategies are neither new nor unique, but, in the past, implementation by industry has failed. Crucially we have provided a pathway and a proposed mechanism for action that will work. There is urgency now, because New Zealand faces a mediocre economic future if we don’t drive the major recommendations in this report to fruition.

“Agri-food leaders need to know what to do, how to do it and how to develop the resources they need to do it effectively.”

Professor Paul Moughan, Riddet Institute co-director said, “New Zealand has unrealised potential in agri-food. But until all key parts of the sector work together in a planned way, New Zealand’s economic growth will be not be maximised. It’s time for action by the agri-food industry and action that has a good chance of success. This is not just another strategy, but a blueprint for action.”

The report will be on the agenda at the forthcoming Primary Industry Chief Executives’ Boot Camp in August at Stanford University in California.

The report was launched today in Wellington at an event attended by Minister for Primary Industries, Hon David Carter, agri-food industry leaders and senior government officials.

The report is available from www.riddet.ac.nz
Background:
The Riddet Institute is a national Centre of Research Excellence and a partnership between five organisations: The University of Auckland, AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, Massey University, and the University of Otago.
The independent team that compiled the report was: Dr Kevin Marshall, former Director of R&D for the NZ Dairy Board and Chief Executive of the Dairy Research Institute; Dr Russell Ballard, Chancellor of Massey University and a former CEO of five Government departments including MAF and Dept. of Education; Dr Graeme Avery, owner of Sileni Estates, and former owner of Adis International; and Dr David Johns, an investment policy advisor for DairyNZ.

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