OPINION: The decision by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to impose an immediate halt to live animal exports in the wake the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 off the coast of Japan is a sensible move.
Director general of the Ministry for Primary Industries, Ray Smith, says it seems like the country is moving from one set of issues to another, which are all challenging to farmers. He cites the droughts in the North Island and the feed shortage in the South Island – along with M. bovis and the damage from earthquakes.
“It feels like the expectations on those Trusts are growing and we are trying to increase our investment in them to help the local people,” he told Rural News.
Smith says the drought can get on top of people, as costs rise and people struggle and are not sure what to do next. He says for some of them the world appears to be closing in and they need to know we are there to support them.
“We don’t want to leave anyone behind and it’s not anyone’s fault that they find themselves in these positions. One thing we can do is keep on supporting these Rural Support Trust and Rural Advisory Group people.”
Smith says Rural Support Trusts have been doing an amazing job and now that most of the Covid lockdown restrictions have been lifted, he hopes that it will be easier for people who need help to contact them.
“The other factor that is driving MPI to support the rural support organisations is that the weather patterns over the next two decades suggest that the areas that are dry now, will get drier and wet ones, wetter,” he adds.
Smith says the extreme position facing the country now is an indication of what the future may hold and thought has to be given to the future because the weather patterns are not going to make it easy for farmers.