The purpose of the visit was to enhance the understanding of New Zealand’s red meat production systems, regulatory framework, industry supply chain and the associated processes and programmes deployed to support an effective presence in international red meat markets.
The UK delegation included representatives from industry bodies, processors, devolved administration officials (from Wales, Ireland and Scotland), and central government officials. The New Zealand delegation included representatives from MPI, MFAT, B+LNZ and MIA.
The programme involved a number of workshops, farm visits, tours of processing plants and meetings with key industry representatives across the red meat sector including researchers, industry leaders and farmers. The sector showcased New Zealand’s grass-fed farm systems and highlighted some of the practices that allow New Zealand farmers to address environmental challenges and position our sheep and beef products as high quality premium products to consumers at home and around the world.
There was a strong focus throughout the week on relationship building and identifying areas of common interest where collaboration could help us address shared challenges in order to support a prosperous, resilient and sustainable red meat sector in our respective countries. The programme also emphasised the importance of a market and consumer orientated approach, and highlighted the importance of open and predictable market access for the on-going success of our export-focused beef and sheepmeat.
Some common themes emerged throughout the week, including our respective focus on maintaining high levels of animal welfare standards, addressing climate change challenges and ensuring the sector was farming responsibly and sustainably, and ensuring that farmers were well supported with best practice initiatives, science and innovation to drive productivity and resilience.
After a successful week, both delegations sat down together to identify areas for cooperation and plan for future work. Four key areas of collaboration were identified: promoting outcomes based regulation, communicating the diet and health benefits of red meat, collaborating to address climate change and greenhouse gas challenges and promoting farming excellence. Over the next three months, government and industry from the UK and New Zealand will work to develop project plans to turn the collaboration opportunities into action.