[10 February/ Business Day: NZ Farmer]

Mike Petersen, the New Zealand Government’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, says that the Primary Sector Story needs rewriting if farmers are to reach their full potential.  He said overseas markets saw New Zealand as quirky, if we fell off the map tomorrow, nobody would care, Mr Petersen told the launch of the Rural Business Network launch in Taranaki.  Expanding the reach of kiwi exporters requires revamping the sector story, very few countries have grass fed production, with high standards but we are not well known.  He highlighted how small our contributions to global supply are, only 3% of the world’s dairy supply for example, and the importance of recognised production levels are increasingly locked in making it critical that we focus on adding value.  He said nobody will buy our products because we know they are good, highlighting Origin Green in Ireland, he said we need to move beyond a solid primary sector story to ensure we mitigate the damage that a one-off event may have.