[13 June/Rural Life]

Biosecurity has retained the number one ranking as top priority in KPMG’s Agribusiness Agenda for the ninth consecutive year. The agenda is based on input from various industry leaders. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said biosecurity also remained a priority for him as New Zealand continues to face significant challenges. The top ten priorities saw two new ones this year, the first being penalties for those who did not protect their livestock and delivering research and development incentives to support innovation. Both of these show trends in thinking within the sector such as increased focus on animal welfare and the ethical framework underlying the production of food. Investment in irrigation and water storage infrastructure fell out of the top ten as well as schemes to regenerate native ecosystems which reflects the current uncertainty of what the Zero Carbon framework means in practice and its possible unintended consequences.