Strength in numbers

World Trade was humming along until Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In Editor’s Note3 Minutes

WORLD TRADE WAS HUMMING along until Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Covid made global trading difficult but Russia’s invasion may have the greater impact.

Overseas commentators say security is now the key word.

Suddenly security of food, energy and nations are no longer taken for granted. It is at the forefront of many politicians’ minds, not climate change and green policies.

The European Union is reconsidering its green policies. Germany has given up on environmental green fields and ripping up a million hectares for grain production.

Some overseas commentators say the recent phase of globalisation may have ended because of Covid, the Ukraine war, growing nationalism and protectionism.

Will the world split up into major trading blocs? Is the past 30 years of expectation, entitlement and instant gratification coming to an end?

The high meat prices are welcomed, but how stable is the over-reliance on China? What if there is international action against China if it invades Taiwan or for its human rights record? Where will that leave NZ with 36% of beef and 50% sheepmeat exports heading there?

It doesn’t need a war to bring about a collapse in a market. Sweden’s H&M fell foul of China’s ruling Communist party for raising concerns about Uyghur forced labour.

More trade deals are needed like the latest with the United Kingdom, to lessen the dependency on China.

The New Zealand and UK trade deal seems great for our beef trade with all quotas disappearing in 15 years. However, meat companies may be wary of rushing in because there will be strong competition from Ireland and Scotland. Also, Australia’s trade deal has a far larger access quota. Costly regulations and better prices in other parts of the world may dampen enthusiasm, until the loss of a market like China.

Within markets, does NZ need to do more about promoting its products?

Ireland has Origin Green, an umbrella food and beverage sustainability programme and brand which is helping to future-proof the Irish beef sector.

Like NZ farming, Origin Green has critics within Ireland. Here, Greenpeace is hellbent on destroying farming and the economy. In both countries efficient farming is labelled as intensive and bad.

Whatever happens market-wise, farmers can lift profits in their farm business by using the strength of numbers. The numbers from genetic gain, quality feed, weight gain, herd efficiency, and many more can add up to make a major impact. Use them.