Thursday, August 20, 2009

A moment with the Minister of Agriculture

Last night I attended an informal gathering with the WYF at the Beehive to listen to Hon. David Carter's thoughts on, well, agriculture.

When I asked the Minister what he thought of the consistent forecasting by both Infometrics AND Ganesh Nana at Berl Economics that Agriculture was going to be one of 5 sectors deemed weaker sectors contributing to us ‘bouncing back’ (flashback to Alan Partridge selling his own book at Paddington Station entitled ‘Bouncing Back’) from the recession (other sectors include construction, forestry, fisheries and communications, with the strongest sectors being business, retail and health & community. 'In between' or moderate are the tourism, transport, wholesale, and some aspects of the manufacturing sectors), particularly when Agriculture completion rates for trainees and cadets are dead last in the latest table released by the TEC, he shot me down simply by saying “I’m going to have to disagree with that statement” followed by the core shaking, revelation-like idea that to get future farmers established we need to 'get them interested'. Oh for goodness sake I thought. Really David?! You're onto something there.

Considering the payouts for this season (discussed in a previous post), I was interested to see how he disagreed with me. He'd just finished stating that the debt incurred by the agriculture industry, New Zealand's major primary industry, was unsustainable. It has DOUBLED in the last 5 years. Further to this, reading through Infometrics thoughts on future export growth (basically, don't hold out hope for dairy in the interim years before we flourish once more in the land of milk and honey), I wondered how he could dispel my notion that had sound foundations.

I'm so keen to hear people's opinions on this. Even if it's recession related rather than agriculture focused.
Enjoy this amazing weather if you're here in NZ, and of course, no matter where you are, the weekend!

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