Thursday, 26 March 2020 15:13

Still the bedrock — Editorial

Written by  Staff Reporters
The world still needs to eat. The world still needs to eat.

Amidst the coronavirus upheaval, one thing is certain – agriculture will see our economy through.

The world still needs to eat and trade channels remain open. The bedrock of New Zealand’s economy is still agriculture and our main export is of course food. 

Farms and orchards will carry on, and with our biggest market China turning a corner with its COVID-19 situation, demand for our produce will remain strong.

In fact, even when the outbreak was peaking in China, prices didn’t suffer as much as expected. In particular, dairy prices held firm. Forward demand for meat is also strong, buoyed by the impact of China’s swine fever outbreak. 

The fundamentals of food supply and demand remain strong and while there’s a case for reducing our dependence on Asian markets, we’ll be glad of our trade relationship with China during the coming months.

To get us through, farmers will need our support. They’ll need good, trustworthy information. They’ll need the usual inputs from the service and supply parts of the industry. They’ll need some breathing space from political moves that might restrict their ability to operate efficiently.

And they’ll need to know we’ve all got their backs and are grateful for their, often unheralded, contribution during these unprecedented times.

It is reassuring to know farming will get through in relatively good shape. Other parts of the economy will not be so lucky: Travel bans will be devastating for businesses and workers in tourism and the Government’s business support package will be crucial. Job losses, however, are already happening in that industry.

Agriculture is a huge job generator and the Government should be looking to help redundant workers from the tourism industry into the seasonal and permanent jobs in the primary sector. With restrictions on immigration, demand for labour will be high.

There are still some roadblocks in farmers’ way. 

Dry conditions remain a problem in many areas. More government assistance will help tide over the hardest hit until the rain returns. Banks need to do their bit as well and loosen their lending restrictions, while the Government needs to change its tone towards farmers. 

The country is going to need farmers and the primary sector more than ever.

More like this

Migrant workers set to return

About 50 migrant dairy workers could potentially benefit from the Government’s border exception for work visa holders.

Featured

 

National

Beef+Lamb pushing for changes

Farmer-good organisation Beef+Lamb NZ (BLNZ) says it will continue to advocate for changes to the new fresh water regulations.

Machinery & Products

JD updates header line-up

John Deere has updated its entire header line-up for combines to include the new HDR Rigid Cutterbar Drapers, RDF HydraFlex…

Hybrid harvesters launched

New Holland has entered the world of hybrid headers, launching a new machine that blends its conventional threshing drum and…

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Burn!

OPINION: This old mutt had to have a giggle at the dig Feds recently made at the Green Party in the…

Why?

OPINION: Your canine crusader was aghast to read that the prices of zucchini and cucumbers rose more than 30% in…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter