Call for agri- food innovation
New Zealand must pull ahead of the rest of the world in agri- food innovation in order to retain a competitive advantage, speakers told the Ministry for Primary Industry’s food and fibre innovation conference on Thursday. “We need to be in a better position to respond to challenges like increased competition, potentially disruptive technologies such as synthetic alternatives and environmental and climatic impacts,” said Martyn Dunne, MPI’s director general. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the sector, which contributes more than $ 38 billion in annual exports, had to “compete with others who are catching up fast”. O’Connor said it was critical that research and development became “business as usual” or the sector risks being overtaken by the Irish, South Americans or Europeans.