MAF maps future challenges for primary sectors

29 November 2007

Climate change, the end of cheap oil, and emerging tensions over water as existing supplies dry up are among the future threats and opportunities facing New Zealand’s primary sectors, says a new publication released today by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).

Future Focus: Signposts to Success for New Zealand’s Primary Industries identifies six global drivers of change likely to impact on the primary sectors over the next 10 to 15 years.

The drivers are global warming, climate change, and extreme weather; energy cost and supply; geopolitical power shifts, and international trade and investment; ecosystem degradation, and water quality and availability; demographic shifts; and technological advances.

“The aim is to inform the primary sectors’ strategic decision-making by sketching their possible future operating environment,” says MAF Director-General Murray Sherwin.”

The Future Focus publication builds on the Primary Industries 2020 Summit, currently running in Christchurch, says Mr Sherwin.

“The Summit is the beginning of a process of shaping a vision for the primary industries in the year 2020. Future Focus is intended to act as a catalyst for further exploration about the risks and opportunities facing the sectors.”

He says that the increasing pace of change means that the sectors will need to be flexible and agile in the future, and must build resilience into their businesses now.

Possible opportunities canvassed include sustainability branding, emission mitigation technologies, and innovative foods.

Future Focus is available online at

Media contact:

William Minchin, Senior Communications Adviser, ph: 06 8940164 or 0298940164

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