This old mutt was taken aback by a vitriolic opinion piece penned in a weakly (sic) rural publication late last year by a self-important commentator named Craig Wiggins.
Federated Farmers of NZ President Katie Milne was engaged in a busy schedule of speaking and meeting engagements in Montevideo and Buenos Aires in a programme put together by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and New Zealand’s Ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, Raylene Liufalani.
Milne’s engagements in Uruguay included giving an address to a conference with the theme ‘Social innovation for a country with agricultural conscience’, a meeting with Uruguay’s Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Enzo Benech, and visiting the PGG Wrightson Pas Research Centre to witness their operations in Latin America.
At the Argentine Congress on November 22, which included a Q&A session with Argentine Deputies and Senators, Milne’s topics included future farming challenges, the importance of co-operatives in NZ agriculture (dairy in particular) and the role of women in rural communities.
Among other events, she also had discussions with CIL (Argentina’s dairy industry body) and spoke at a symposium of La Serenisima, a dairy product maker with more than 5000 employees and annual revenue of more than $NZ 2 billion.
During her visit she also met Uruguayan and Argentine farmers, including her counterparts, to hear first-hand the challenges they are facing in the region.
While New Zealand has a much higher level of trade with Asian nations that those in Latin America, the latter is seen as offering significant opportunities — especially with Chile and Peru being signatories to the CPTPP. New Zealand is also exploring deeper trade engagement with MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).