16 Jun 2010

New challenge coming from developing countries

7:01 pm on 16 June 2010

The president of Federated Farmers, Don Nicolson, says increased agricultural production by developing countries poses a challenge to New Zealand agriculture.

A report from the United Nations and the OECD says developing countries are expected to be the driving force in agriculture, trade and consumption growth over the next decade.

The agricultural output from such countries is expected to grow between two and three times as fast as the output of OECD countries.

The report says consumption trends in developing countries are also moving away from traditional staple foods towards more prepared foods and foods containing a greater proportion of animal protein.

It says the ouput of Brazil, Russia, India and China alone - the Bric bloc - will be three times greater than that of major developed countries over the next 10 years.

Mr Nicolson says that the agricultural growth in developing countries should not be viewed as a threat, but he added that New Zealand farmers will have to be competitive to head off the challenge.

The predicted growth won't happen overnight, he says, and New Zealand is in a good position to handle it.

Sherwin not fazed by boom

The Ministry of Agriculture also doesn't believe a Bric boom poses much of a threat to New Zealand.

Director-general Murray Sherwin says New Zealand is nearing its production capacity and is well-positioned internationally.

New Zealand businesses will need to consider investing in these developing agricultural nations, he adds.