Monday, June 27, 2011

Global sign-off on GHG research efforts

I have just had the privilege of representing New Zealand at the first Global Research Alliance Ministerial Summit in Rome. My colleague, International Climate Change Negotiations Minister, Tim Groser chaired the inaugural meeting.

More than 30 countries have now officially signed up to the Alliance which is a global effort, initiated by New Zealand, to research ways of producing more food while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It's exciting that the work of the Alliance’s Research Groups has already led to a better understanding of agricultural mitigation research efforts in member countries, and to an increase in international co-operation.

During the Ministerial Summit I announced the establishment of a $25 million competitive international fund by the New Zealand Government, to support research on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from pastoral farming.

We know there is no silver bullet for reducing emissions from livestock. Only by partnering with others around the world can we make the scientific breakthroughs that we need.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Travel to Italy and the UK

I have spent a lot of time in airports over the past two days.

The journey from Christchurch to Rome is a long one but representing New Zealand at the inaugural Global Research Alliance Ministerial Summit is a real privilege.

While in Rome I will also lead the New Zealand delegation to the 37th meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) where I will deliver New Zealand’s Ministerial Statement and participate in the election of the new Director-General of the FAO.

These are both significant agricultural ministerial meetings, particularly with New Zealand’s leadership role in the Global Research Alliance, and they enable our views on food security and climate change to be heard at an international level.

I will also travel to Milan and London for a range of trade promotion and economic development events focused on green growth, health tech and primary sector exports.

Before heading home I will visit Wales to meet with HRH The Prince of Wales and undertake a number of rural engagements.

This trip provides an opportunity to reinforce our long-standing relationship with Europe, and particularly the UK while promoting the New Zealand brand. I will be sure to update you with any progress and developments made as a result of my trip.

Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 Fieldays helps break barriers to productivity

As the 43rd New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays drew to a close, it was obvious that the biggest event on our farming calendar had once again been a huge success.

The four-day rural showcase was a triumph for the organisers, with huge numbers going through the gates of Mystery Creek.

The theme of this year’s Fieldays was ‘Breaking Barriers to Productivity’. This is all about coming up with solutions to obstacles that stifle productivity in the primary sector.

This was evident on many of the stands with organisers reporting new products and smart ideas driving record sales for some. It will be interesting to see the final sales results when they come through.

The 2011 Fieldays has been a great opportunity to show how good our primary producers and manufacturers really are. Our farmers and growers are among the world’s most innovative and efficient, our commodity prices are at record levels, and our agribusinesses are on top of their game.

If you wanted to see the engine room of our economy running at full steam, a trip to Fieldays this year would have given you a first-hand look.