New Zealand’s farming industry has a long way to go to catch up with the global standards and standards of farming, says the industry’s biggest and most influential organisation, the Australian Society of Farm and Seafoods.
Key points:A new survey shows that more than 50% of NZ’s farmers are struggling to keep up with global standardsThe survey also found that a quarter of New Zealand farmers were self-sufficientIn New Zealand, almost half of the country’s farming population has less than $5,000 in savings, while nearly a quarter don’t have enough to live on and two-thirds don’t even have enough food on the table to feed themselves.
The report also found a large percentage of New Zephyr farms are still struggling to maintain a sustainable business model and meet international standards.
And it found that almost half the farmers in the country are still self-suffering, meaning they rely on the help of other members of their family, or family members, to maintain their operation.
“There is a huge gap between what the industry is capable of and what the community is capable,” Mr Dickson said.
“What we see is that the industry as a whole, in terms of being able to sustainably grow their business, is really struggling.”
Mr Dickson and Mr McArthur are part of the Australian National Farmers Union’s New Zealand Farm and Fishery Association (NZFA) which represents more than 250,000 small farmers in New Zealand.
“We’ve seen a very rapid change in the last five years.
The number of farmers has grown from zero to about 30,000, and in the past two years the number of small farmers has increased by 20 per cent,” Mr McBride said.
“That’s a huge change.”
The survey, which is conducted by the University of Waikato and the Institute for the Future, found that nearly a third of the small farmers surveyed were self sufficient, and nearly a fifth were self feeding.
More than a third said they had been working for more than 10 hours a day, and two thirds said they would be unable to work for more time if it meant they lost the right to buy their own land.
“A lot of these farmers have got children who need to go off to university, they’ve got elderly people who are struggling financially, they have people who just need a bit of help, so it’s a really big issue,” Mr Smedley said.
The survey revealed that almost one in five farmers surveyed said they’d been in trouble with their land owners and that about two-fifths of those people were self dependent.
“When we talk about self reliance, it’s actually a reflection of the fact that there are lots of people in the system who can’t afford to feed their family.
The vast majority of those farmers aren’t really self reliant, and they’re actually relying on their family to do it,” Mr Rabin said.
He said farmers were also relying on the support of family members to manage their farms, and that the number was growing, with almost half saying they had someone in their family who could manage the farm.
Mr Dinson said that, while the numbers were growing, the number working for themselves was falling.
“The numbers of self-sustaining farmers have increased, but we’re still struggling,” he said.
Mr McArthur said the numbers of people working for family members was a concern.
“If you’re not self reliant or you’re self dependent on someone, it becomes a problem,” he says.
“People will work for the company, they’ll work for their boss, they might work for a neighbour, they will work on the family farm.
They’re the people that need the most support.”
Farmers have also been asked to pay more for their land, and many are not happy with the decision.
“You see farmers who are going to sell their land for $1 million and they say ‘I can’t do that’,” Mr McHay said.
For a long time, the Kiwi economy has been focused on manufacturing, which has been dominated by exports, such as clothes, shoes and food.
But the world is changing, and the Kiwis are struggling with changing economic realities, particularly with the impact of climate change.
“That’s where New Zealand is at right now, and it’s been a very hard time to grow,” Mr Kitchings said.
Topics:farm-and-poultry,poultry-breeding,animal-welfare,agriculture,nsw,nh,australiaFirst posted September 29, 2019 07:48:32Contact Jacqueline WillsMore stories from New Zealand