New Zealand Needs To Boost Food, Fiber Sector To Support Ageing Population, Experts Say


New Zealand needs to boost food, fiber sector to support ageing population, experts say

WELLINGTON, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Apr, 2024) New Zealand must earn more from food and fiber sector exports to maintain current living standards in the years ahead to support an ageing population that placed increased strain on the country's public services, experts have said.

A discussion paper published on Tuesday called for "investment and policies that do not demand immediate results" to boost productivity in New Zealand's food and fiber sector, which includes agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishing and associated processing, accounting for 80 percent of New Zealand's goods exports and one of the main sources of income and tax revenue that fund public services.

However, Peter Davis, chair of the Helen Clark Foundation, which commissioned the discussion paper with the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, said the sector needs to earn more.

"This country faces a key challenge in providing an ageing population with the quality healthcare, education and superannuation New Zealanders rightly expect," Davis said.

But the paper's authors Todd Krieble and Bill Kaye-Blake warned that many New Zealand firms do not have the skills and scale necessary to compete effectively in unforgiving global markets.

Pathways suggested by the paper include developing a more skilled workforce; consumer-driven marketing and product development; better investment, especially in processing; improving management and governance; and strategic collaboration to create scale and larger investment pools.

"The sector's challenges, especially in processing, have existed for decades and the underlying issues are not amenable to quick fixes," it said.