Five weeks ago KPMG released a report that said, in short, New Zealand has a window of about five years to get itself up to speed to face the challenges of emerging agricultural nations or we will lose our competitive advantage.

This is a salutary warning.  At no time should we rest on our laurels and think that we have the job done, but I’m not sure that we want to place ourselves in a position of competing in the commodity products world, where we can’t compete with regimes where there is a lower wage market and a lesser standard of environmental stewardship.

Not that we have stepped aside from ongoing research and recent creations like the SNP chip which can make millions of calculations on possible genetic outcomes from gene mapping technology which is the envy of our competitors.

I believe a stock take of our current position  shows we have some significant advantages.  We have a good image of quality, safety, and security of supply.  We have more available water than most countries can only dream about and we are one of only a very few countries which doesn’t have prions (mad cow disease, scrapie or chronic wasting disease etc.) in our food chain.  The consumers we want to be dealing with are those at the top of the prestige foods market and healthy environmentally sustainable foods will count more than a competitive race with producers focused on high volume low margin returns.