Stephen Ogden recently attended the Primary Industries Summit, “Supporting the adaptation of New Zealand’s primary industries to the future”, in Wellington.  The programme resonated strongly with the vision of A Lighter Touch, with a focus on sustainability, trade, and healthy, high quality, safe food.

MPI Director General, Ray Smith, outlined the “Fit for a better world” programme and spoke about the formation of a Technical Advisory Group on regenerative agriculture.  Another speaker outlined how consumer priorities have changed towards Trust and Safety during Covid-19, and that Health and Wellness and Sustainability will be top consumer priorities post-Covid.  We are aware of the importance of ensuring that A Lighter Touch adapts to changing consumer priorities, and we have a project called Consumer Focus to ensure the programme remains consumer led.  But while we have always had a focus on the consumer, Vangelis Vitalis (MFAT’s Chief Trade Negotiator) informed the meeting that there are now also broader trade benefits (or consequences) from environmental performance in negotiating trade agreements with some economies.

The way New Zealand responded to Covid-19 has also caught the attention of many consumers, and there is a high level of New Zealand recognition at present.  This is being capitalised on through the NZTE campaign, as a way of experiencing NZ food and beverage offshore, under the Made With Care brand.  Made with Care tells the world that our food and beverage is Safe, Tasty, Premium quality, Nutritious, and Ethical.  These messages have an incredibly good fit with A Lighter Touch.

A Lighter Touch will take these themes further, telling our story of the journey to agroecological crop protection. We want the story of A Lighter Touch to be evidence based and credible. To provide that evidence we are benchmarking current crop protection practices (Project 3.3), and we will measure progress and successes over the 7-year life of the programme.

So it is really, really important that we get this information from all of our Programme Participants. If you haven’t yet responded to Paul’s request for information – please give him a call and see how we can make this happen.

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