Thursday, 02 April 2020 09:32

Primary sector responds to COVID-19 challenge

Written by  Peter Burke
Ray Smith. Ray Smith.

MPI director general Ray Smith has praised the country’s farming leaders for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith says while primary food production is in business, but it’s not business as usual and we used to know it.

More than the 100 primary sector industry leaders he spoke to on a video link took that message on board and have been working on innovative solutions to deal with the crisis. Smith says it’s pleasing to see them being prepared to yield a bit to ensure the best outcome for the country. 

He cites as an example of this the protocol that has been agreed by the meat processing companies to keep their works operating, albeit at a much lower level of production. MPI set out its criteria and industry came up with a solution that will keep its workers safe and plants open for business.     

Currently about 90% of MPI’s 3500 workforce are operating from home, but many staff – such as those in biosecurity at airports and shipping terminals – are still working in the field.

“We also have people out on the road undertaking verification duties, there are still people who need to certify products for export and all those sorts of things that are needed to keep the systems flying. Some will still turn up on farm depending on what the circumstances are.” 

Smith, himself, is one of three staff working from MPI’s head office in Wellington where normally 1200 people work. He says half his executive team are working from home, but they hold two major conference calls each day to make sure plans are in place to deal the COVID-19 implications for the rural sector.

More like this

Country’s backbone performs

New Zealand's primary sector has added steel to the country’s economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recently released report.

China keeps dairy prices high

Whole milk powder (WMP) prices are now sitting above pre-Covid-19 levels and New Zealand farmers can thank a resurging Chinese economy for that.

China back on track?

Life in China is starting to get back to some semblance of normality, according to MPI’s deputy director general of China Relations.

Featured

 

Limited feed puts ewes at risk

Severe feed shortages in parts of the country mean many ewes are on a nutritional knife-edge heading into lambing and could be at risk of developing metabolic disorders.

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped him getting out and about in difficult environments.

National

A ticking time bomb

Our dairy industry risks being exposed to a ‘ticking time bomb’ of unethical players unlawfully passing off New Zealand-made and…

Nervous wait for winter

The unknown of what winter will bring is very much on the mind of the Hawkes Bay Rural Support Trust…

Be careful, Potatoes NZ!

Moves by the NZ potato industry to have anti-dumping tariffs imposed on European imports could play into the hands of…

China keeps dairy prices high

Whole milk powder (WMP) prices are now sitting above pre-Covid-19 levels and New Zealand farmers can thank a resurging Chinese…

Machinery & Products

Hydrogen excavator a first

While most motive industries are focused on hybrid or EV power plants, JCB has developed the construction industry’s first hydrogen-powered…

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped…

HP and digital tech combo

The latest New Holland T8 GENESIS is said to capitalise on the productive combinations of Stage V horsepower and digital…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Spell check

Your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s…

About time!

Your canine crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter