[10 April/NZ Farmer]

Research from Lincoln University has shown poor relationships between farmers and their meat producers could be costing New Zealand. Lincoln University Senior Lecturer, Nic Lees, said improving relationships was essential and that from his survey New Zealand was missing out on higher market returns because of a lack of commitment and trust between farmers and meat companies. He added that most farmers do not commit to forward supply contracts and we have a system driven by production rather than market requirements. He looked at how the relationship quality affected supplier performance. Mr Lees said processors wanted their suppliers to be profitable as they wanted a long-term relationship with them. He noted consumers were increasingly making food choices based not only on quality but other factors. He emphasised that it was a win-win for farmers, exporters and the New Zealand economy.