In the eleventh year of publication, KPMG sought comments from a wide range of groups connected to the primary sector, not just the industry leaders as in the past.
Such a range of perspectives seemed relevant before covid-19 but is now more insistent, author Ian Proudfoot said.
Industry leaders should not believe they have all the answers. Assumptions can go out of date very quickly.
“Ideas come from all corners of organisations and our leaders need that diversity of opinion inherent in New Zealand more than ever,” he said.
KPMG interviewed providers of capital, educators, scientists, emerging leaders, Maori leaders, farmers, producers, chief executives and business leaders.
Six main issues emerged from the interviews:
Environmental challenges and what regenerative agriculture means for NZ;
Empowering people by attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining talent;
Equality of access to the digital future and data sharing;
Confronting tough problems such as gene editing and fresh water;
Strengthening communities, either directly or indirectly and;
Building trust in the primary sector and creating consensus by setting standards and reporting against them.
Proudfoot said concerns about attracting and retaining the right people featured in his first Agribusiness Agenda in 2010.
“We haven’t made the progress on this matter we needed to and this year’s Agenda contains different perspectives on how this might be addressed.
“It is no longer acceptable in 10 years to be saying the same stuff.”
KPMG did its usual survey of priorities as seen by the people it interviewed and biosecurity remains at the top.
“People are more nervous than before because we have had a major disease incursion and the porosity of our border is now clear,” he said.
Trade agreements are second on the list, highlighted by the moves by other countries to protect and incentivise their industries.
Water made a big comeback on the list, moving from 19th last year to ninth-equal this year.
That was put down to the widespread drought and concern about rain patterns becoming less reliable.
KPMG reported on the priorities of women and millennial contributors separately from the overall survey group, which is 70% male.
Millennials were 21% of surveyed voices.
Women elevated rural and urban community understanding to number four on their ranking and put a significantly lower ranking on trade agreements.
Millennials put alternative proteins at number four, compared with the full survey ranking of 28.
But they also agree with baby boomers priority should be accorded gene-editing technologies, ranking them sixth.
Penalties for animal welfare, equipping leaders with industry skills and implementing quality water systems are also valued highly by that cohort.
KPMG analyst Jack Keeys interviewed 25 emerging leaders, collectively called centennials and millennials, born between 1981and 2010, representative of two million younger NZ citizens.
They have high expectations for food and fibre industries in all-inclusive community prosperity, comprehensive collaboration, environmental integrity, pride in perception across tiers in society and financial sustainability to achieve the four previous goals.
They believe the health and well-being of the whole country should be a goal of the primary sector.
Sustainability and zero carbon are not ambitious enough. They want net-positive waste emissions and contaminant footprint.
E-commerce systems for food are important for every region and industry.
They also suggested a food and fibre levy for innovation and collaborative research and development.
Greater good moves farmers
Farmers and growers in Canterbury see success from their efforts very much bound up in community health and well-being, KPMG reports.
Local advisory team members Brent Love and Genevieve Steven say farmers in the region believe access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food for everyone should be prioritised ahead of exports.
Stevens points to the Meat the Need producers’ charity supplying food banks as an example.
Asked for the factors in what they see as relevant in 2040 they said all products must have 100% traceability and audited standards.
Products will also be marketed on attributes underpinned by science, establishing fact over fiction.
The survey respondents called for one governing body that sits above all industry-good organisations to ensure a consistent approach to marketing, product safety and quality.
Thriving landscapes will have diverse ecosystems, an adaptive and tech-savvy workforce and continued family-owned and operated businesses.