New Zealand AgriFood Week – driving the discussion of New Zealand as a food producing nation
The world’s population is growing and is estimated to hit nine billion by 2050, meaning the world will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as was produced in the past 8,000 years. New Zealand will play a vital role in meeting some of this demand.
Global challenges like climate change, labour shortages and the need to balance increased food production, while reducing environmental footprints, are forcing food producers to implement technology and different employment methods in order to meet demands and expectations from consumers and their future workforce.
New Zealand AgriFood Week, in association with ASB, offers a series of events that are focused on food, agriculture and technology, and its purpose is to connect thought leaders, decision makers and future leaders from across the agrifood value chain to drive transformation and shape the future of food production and farming.
Headline events in 2019 include; ASB Perspective 2025, a boardroom style discussion between female leaders across the primary industries, AgResearch Future Feeders, focused on the future of food and the workforce required to meet this demand, Plate of Origin, a national restaurant competition connecting chefs, regional food producers and consumers through one dish, the AgTech Hackathon, which connects tech experts, farmers and high school students to develop solutions to on-farm problems and the Ballance Farm Environment Awards Horizons Region.
“The week is about identifying the opportunities, challenges and future trends. It provides the environment for local and central government, producers, growers, researchers and consumers to work together to ensure Manawatu is leading the thinking in product development, innovation and the sustainability of agriculture and food production, for the benefit of New Zealand,” says Central Economic Development Agency’s Chief Executive Linda Stewart. The Central Economic Development Agency sets the strategic direction and manages the key partnerships, several events and content for New Zealand AgriFood Week as part of its agriculture sector development.
“Manawatu’s position at the forefront of agrifood is enviable. We are home to more than 2500 scientists, researchers, academics and FoodHQ, who are all working hard to advance our knowledge and capabilities in agriculture, food production and more. This happens alongside our boutique and large-scale food producers, manufactures and our distribution and logistics hub, which gets all of these products around New Zealand.”
For 2019, the theme ‘Food for Who?’ encapsulates the broad scope of the discussion during the week’s events, as we explore topics such as who New Zealand is and should be feeding, what Manawatu’s role is within that, who is sustaining traditional industry and who is evolving it.
Each event and the lineup of industry expert speakers has been shaped in partnership with leading-edge thinkers across the primary industries. Many of these have since become key sponsors and partners, including ASB, AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, FoodHQ, NZTE, Massey University, Fonterra and The Factory.
“Our partners recognise that by working together we can unlock greater potential in food development and continue to build the region and New Zealand’s reputation on a global stage.”
From scientists to students, researchers, farmers and food producers, agribusiness and service providers, there is something for everyone. Attendees are some of the brightest minds and change makers working across industries and we know it’s the connections, conversations and collaboration within the week that is of most value to them.
“The week is also about talent attraction and increasing tertiary and secondary students’ awareness of the opportunities in the primary industries, but it is a two-way conversation. Our events provide a platform for those starting out in their careers to bring new ideas and approaches to work and discuss them with current leaders and decision makers. It’s this blend of ideas and dialogue that makes New Zealand AgriFood Week so unique.”
New Zealand AgriFood Week is held between March 11 to 16, 2019 in Manawatu.