The number of farm businesses certified under the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme has grown 4% in the past year, with plans to launch a major new digital platform later this month.
The NZFAP and NZFAP Plus are voluntary nationwide farm assurance programmes originally developed under the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP), a joint Primary Growth Partnership initiative between the NZ red meat sector, banks and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
The programmes aim to provide confidence and certainty to consumers worldwide that the meat and wool produced from NZ’s sheep, beef and deer farms is authentic, genuine and safe.
The programmes provide assurance regarding integrity, traceability, animal health and welfare, people, farm and natural resources and biosecurity.
NZ Farm Assurance Incorporated (NZFAI) chair Nick Beeby reported 4% annual growth to the organisation’s recent annual meeting, with 8120 farm businesses now having NZFAP certification and another 500 having taken the next step of either working towards or achieving NZFAP Plus certification.
NZFAI is also meeting its original objective of reducing duplication and costs in the sector by 37%.
Having reached a significant number of farmers nationwide, Beeby said, the challenge now is to reach those who may think certification or verification is not for them.
He said the numbers alone don’t portray the benefits of collaboration.
“This is the biggest collaboration within the NZ red meat and wool sectors and there is real commitment to our success and purpose.
“We have seen real value in working together. More and more partners want to work with us and as a result we are reviewing our membership structure to ensure these can be catered for.”
“The risk of farmers and companies not taking steps to reach the sustainability goals that have been set by governments in our global markets is real.
“It is real to NZ’s customers and to our global marketplace.”
NZFAI has made several changes to NZFAP Plus because of early farmer user feedback.
“We have listened to the valuable feedback from farmers’ on-farm experiences with the programme and we have incorporated improvements.”
A major new digital platform for NZFAI’s programmes will be launched later this year to support farmers and member companies.
NZFAP Online will go live for member businesses, including processors and wool companies, on July 31 and will be progressively rolled out to registered farmers over the next six months.
NZFAP Online will make it easier for farmers to continuously upload farm data to the programme, including on mobile devices, and will streamline the on-farm audit process.
“It will ensure seamless transfer of data across supply chains and provide member businesses with one source of truth regarding verified suppliers, providing concrete evidence for overseas markets.”
NZFAI’s long-term goal is for every NZ farm to come onboard NZFAP, with at least 50% in NZFAP Plus and all using NZFAP Online.
“Importantly, this platform will continue to evolve and develop based on the expectations of our members.”
NZFAI hopes to link the new digital platform with other third-party farm management systems in the future to avoid duplication.
Meanwhile QCONZ will replace AsureQuality effective from October 1, 2023 as the programme’s new audit provider.
QCONZ is an audit company that develops, implements and audits animal welfare, environmental and food safety assurance programmes.
Farmers can expect QCONZ to contact them regarding audits from August.