B+LNZ and MIA have been jointly running the ‘Speak Meat’ initiative since 2013. It was initially designed to strengthen the connections between the red meat sector and government, however, we offered to expand the programme for EU diplomats posted to New Zealand to provide them with the same overview.
The 'Speak Meat' programme is designed to equip the attendees with an overview of the New Zealand sheep and beef industry including a farm and processing plant visit. This programme in particular provided an opportunity for diplomats to gain an improved understanding of our farming systems and supply chains, the challenges that we face as a sector, and opportunities for collaboration as we look towards an even stronger trade relationship through a EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.
Sam and Hannah Morrah, from Waipukurau, hosted the delegates on their farm where they talked about multi-generational farming, their tree planting initiatives, fencing, livestock management and the relationship and feedback loop from consumers and processors so that they can constantly evolve their farming practices to deliver high quality, sustainable and sought after product. They also put on some stunning weather.
The next day the group visited Silver Fern Farms in Takapau where they were shown through their plan, and got to see their skilled workforce and innovative technology in action.
The New Zealand Government is negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union, one of the world's largest trading entities and an important market for New Zealand sheapmeat and beef, worth over NZ$1.8 billion in the year ended December 2017. It is New Zealand’s largest market by region for sheepmeat exports and second-largest for wool and chilled beef exports taking our highest quality and value cuts. The FTA is an important step towards generating new opportunities for agricultural and food producers under an EU-NZ FTA.