Te Puna Whakaaronui Thought Leaders group chair Lain Jager says New Zealand needs a strategy that will take the country forward as a nation.
He says there is a short window of opportunity to invest and make progress.
Strategies that are incomplete will not attract investment and if you can’t invest in them then you can’t move forward.
“Without clear strategy and capacity to implement change this country will go backwards,” Jager told the E Tipu Boma Agri Summit in Christchurch.
“We do need new industry, new billion-dollar business, to drive this (primary industries) sector forward.
“From $48 billion in exports to $85b by 2050, if we can grow the sector by 2% annually – there is no other $37b prize.
“We know the politics of environmental excellence and licence to operate, we have four drivers of success.”
Jager outlined these as: absolute commitment to environmental excellence; alignment of incentives, investment and policy to enable and accelerate innovation; sustaining the current strong natural foods position; and sustained leadership to realise potential in new sectors and markets.
Referring to Well NZ – reframing NZ’s food sector opportunities, Jager pointed to the three drivers of change impacting food and fibre value chains as climate change, consumer needs and rapidly developing technology.
Well NZ describes the evolution of global food and fibre value chains, identifying risks and opportunities.
Jager says rapid change makes predicting the future impossible so getting the strategy right is important but increasing the capacity of the system to accelerate and support the rate of innovation is more important.
There is no silver bullet however the opportunity to enhance NZ’s existing system lies in growing the best, most nutritious natural foods that we can and at the same time looking for nutritional compounds to add value to both natural foods and precision fermented foods.
“We can build resilience into our natural food production system and identify opportunities within a modern food space and grow and innovate.
“The global food and wellbeing economies represent opportunities for NZ’s food and fibre sector – if we are prepared to embrace change.
“Our competitors are investing and taking positions to adapt to global food system and technological change – NZ should be too,” he said.