9 Jul 2013

No silver bullet for red meat's grey skies

1:50 pm on 9 July 2013

The heads of the red-meat sector gathered in Auckland on Monday to consider the myriad challenges facing the industry, and they admit there are no easy answers.

Agribusiness leaders say that while other sectors are moving ahead, the meat industry - once the country's biggest export earner - is stuck with a fragmented structure and is in danger of becoming an insignificant player in the country's economic recovery.

The chairman of Beef and Lamb New Zealand, Mike Petersen, says he would not disagree with that view. He says the industry has become extremely demanding to work in, not least because of market volatility.

Mr Petersen says there's no escaping the fact that the strained relationship between meat processing companies and farmers affects the sector's ability to manage supply.

He says there is no silver bullet to fix the many issues assailing the sector but the conference at least brought companies and farmers together to nut out how to grab future opportunities.