New Zealand, a country of 4.7 million, produces enough food for 50 million people. But with 9 billion mouths to feed by 2050, the world needs to produce more nutrition – 30% more.
Wilson stepped down as Fonterra this morning in a shock move; he has been replaced by John Monaghan.
A Fonterra statement says Wilson had recently undergone “significant surgery” and will require on-going treatment.
Tributes flowed for Wilson on twitter. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor wished Wilson a speedy recovery.
“Thanks for all the hard work on behalf of farmers,” O’Connor tweeted.
National agriculture spokesman and former Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said he enjoyed working with Wilson both locally and on trade missions overseas.
“He’s been a strong advocate for NZ dairy farmers and the co-op. The loan facility saved many farmers when global milk prices crashed. John has achieved a lot in Fonterra and here’s to a speedy recovery,” Guy tweeted.
Former National MP and chief executive of NZ Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich tweeted that it was sad to see Wilson stepping down.
“John is a patriot and a great New Zealander. He has dedicated his working life to the success of our dairy industry and thus the New Zealand economy.”
Not all tweets were kind to Wilson, however.
Rachel Stewart, a columnist and farmer tweeted “Yes, Shane Jones speaking the truth can be bad for your health”.
Stewart was referring to comments made by NZ First Minister Shane Jones at the National Fieldays on June 13.
Jones, the Regional Development Minister, called for Wilson to follow chief executive Theo Spierings out the door.
Jones said he told the company it should stop being political and instead focus on its business.