What would it take for New Zealand companies to deliver some major successes in 20 years time?
Would some form of national primary sector strategy or vision help us achieve this? Do we need a route map to the future?
Recognising the importance of the industry to New Zealand, KPMG is committed to playing our part in the development of a pan-industry strategy. We will continue to work to create opportunities for industry leaders to meet, network and discuss opportunities around the future of the primary sector.
- Develop a national primary industry strategy with industry and government working together. This should encompass a vision for the wider industry and the necessary actions to implement it; as well as explore the need for an industry-wide brand or integrity mark.
- Increase the connectivity between urban communities and rural New Zealand. This may include expanding Farm Day programmes, organising more events in urban regions that connect with the primary sector, and using media to highlight the realities of modern production and the benefits created by the industry.
- Explore opportunities to create an umbrella body or ‘green table’ that could provide a unified industry voice to government and the wider population. The cross sector voice will reflect the position that is best for the long-term future of the primary sector.
- Analyse the likely impact of the changes in CAP on global agricultural markets; with the goal of enabling appropriate planning and investment to mitigate the impact on New Zealand’s primary industries.
- Encouraging industry leaders to connect regularly with those in other sectors, in order to spark new ideas and opportunities. Industry good groups could have a role in facilitating this.
- Investigate opportunities to supply customers with a virtual shopping basket, linking New Zealand-produced products with other key ingredients sourced globally.
There is currently no overarching strategy for the industry. Yet there is a wide spectrum of initiatives driven by organisations from government to individuals that contribute to the growth and development of New Zealand’s agricultural sector:
Clear message received: NZ needs a pan-industry strategy
The majority of leaders who have contributed to this year’s Agenda support the development of a pan-industry strategy or equivalent. More than 80 percent believe New Zealand needs a pan-industry strategy or vision, or that an initiative would likely create some value for the industry.
This was a significantly stronger level of support for the creation of a strategy than we had expected, given the lukewarm response to the idea we’d received in preparing last year’s Agenda.
We were given many and varied reasons for the need to develop a pan-industry initiative, although the common theme came down to the simple message that everybody generally does better when people work together.
Many leaders suggested that we simply can’t afford not to work together. As the only developed country that relies on the primary sector to underpin our economic wellbeing, we not only have to be as good as the rest of the world – we have to be better.
Many of those who saw benefits in adopting a pan-industry initiative also sounded a strong note of caution. They expressed doubts about the ability of the industry to deliver an outcome, given a history of incomplete and unsuccessful attempts at collaboration.
What might a pan-indusry strategy look like in practice?
The success of any initiative comes down to a single key factor – the people involved and their ability to engage, enthuse, lead and motivate others with the vision.
Selecting the right people to lead any project is critical. But our conversations confirmed our own view: this would probably be the most difficult step of the whole initiative.
Each person brings their own set of inherent priorities and values with them; making one group’s star candidate completely unacceptable to another group.
Get the selection wrong at this stage, and project is unlikely to achieve even a fraction of its potential.
What KPMG thinks the industry should do
It should be led by a single champion, probably appointed by the Minister of Primary Industries. This person may not necessarily have worked in the sector in the past. We believe a nucleus steering group of industry people should be convened by the champion to act as their sounding board and provide creative, visionary thinking.
The people that would logically form the nucleus are those that actively seek opportunities to collaborate, and see the potential for New Zealand primary products in the widest possible sense.
This answers the question as to the scope of the initiative: it should be all encompassing. Furthermore, they should be given the freedom to start with a blank sheet of paper in building a strategic vision and implementation plan.
The project requires close government engagement, but we consider that the initiative should be a private sector-led partnership. The funding should come from the entities that stand to benefit from implementing the vision and strategy.
The process of creating a final strategy is likely to involve a number of phases and iterations, initially involving a limited group of people which would broaden from the nucleus as the project progresses.
We also believe it is critical that engagement with wider New Zealand community occurs at the appropriate stage of the process. New Zealand has seen the benefit that can be derived from an effective panindustry strategy in the tourism sector.
The primary sector is bigger, generates more export earnings and probably has more opportunity to become great. Now is right time to put old differences aside, and to act, as the opportunities are immense.
We simply need to identify which opportunities deliver the best chance of success, and the most significant returns, to ensure that our capital is used in the most effective manner.
There was a widely held view that the primary sector would benefit from having more regular, high level cross-sectoral forums. This would provide a diverse group of industry leaders the opportunity to talk more widely about their business and the primary sector in general.
The development of a generic New Zealand Agribusiness brand could create benefits for companies, the industry and the economy.
Any pan-industry initiative needs to have close alignment with the government – given that they have the scale, resources and ability to implement policy changes that no other organisation possesses.
Read the full section: Agribusiness Agenda 2012 - Part 2 [PDF: 1.8MB]