Staying profitable and competitive in a global market has been a constant challenge for New Zealand’s dairy industry over the years.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says New Zealand’s dairy sector has no choice but to evolve to meet international demand. “That needs to happen at a faster pace than in the past. It’s not just the challenges we face reaching markets, but also because of the opportunities that are opening up for us,” he says.
There’s always something new to deal with. At the moment Mackle sees two international threats to local producers. The first is Europe. In 2015, the European Union decided to scrap milk quotas after 30 years of trying to prevent over-production. This means more milk is spilling onto the world’s dairy market.
At the same time United States dairy producers, who until now have focused on their domestic market, have woken to the idea they might boost revenues by exporting. Both changes mean greater competition and price pressure as more exporters chase the same customer pool.
Mackle says dealing with these challenges means lifting New Zealand’s game. “We have to be on our toes. At the same time, these changes strengthen our drive to convert more of the milk we produce into higher value products.
“To sell those higher value products we have to build on our reputation. That’s based on how we farm.”
He says the world’s dairy markets are increasingly interested in learning about what happens on New Zealand farms. The country already has a good name as a reliable supplier of high-quality ingredients and dairy products for consumers and the food service industry.
Much of that quality is down to our nation’s clean, green image. Mackle says keeping this is important.
Water is the most pressing issue facing the industry and its image. Mackle says water is not only a dairy issue, water quality is something that concerns all New Zealand.
Source: NZ Herald