Industry confronts big issues
HOW to grow primary industries sustainably, changing consumer expectations, technological transformation of growing and selling we issues confronted at the BOMA Grow 2019 Agri-Summit in Christchurch.
More than 600 people ranging from farmers, producers and researchers to educators and students and those working in government and finance met to discuss ways the food and fibre sector can be more innovative, collaborative, sustainable and profitable now and in future.
Event organiser Kaila Colbin said the two-day summit was a chance to learn about future trends affecting the agriculture sector and what to do about them, in a practical way, from people on the ground.
“Our aim was to bring together people from all across New Zealand’s food and fibre sector and empower them to take action.
“Throughout the two days attendees were exposed to case studies from credible people – who’s tried it, what worked, what didn’t, what’s just a flash in the pan and what’s going to be sustainable into the future.”
Wyld Group chief executive officer Roger Beattie founded an organic meat and woollen apparel company from his 1000-hectare sheep, beef, paua and kelp farm on Banks Peninsula.
“Farmers have been worshipping at the alter of productivity for far too long,” he said.
“The consumer isn’t interested in the productivity of the animal. They want taste and increasingly to know how the animal is raised. Was it ethical, sustainable, were chemicals used?”
Beattie and his wife Nicki are certified organic farmers focused on adding value to all the products they produce, which include Pilana and Wyld wool and meat at Wyld and Wyld Lamb, blue pearls at Eyris Pearls and Valere and Zelp at NZ Kelp.
Grown sustainably and ethically without chemicals in the wild environment, the sheep are served up in some of the best restaurants in the country.
“We’ve been able to identify supportive pathways and networks for action after our event,” Colbin said.
“It’s not enough to know what the changes affecting the sector are – we have to learn what to do with them and how the sector can collaborate and thrive together in the future as well.”
Farmers Weekly was a partner of Grow 2019 and sponsored two students from Lincoln University to attend.