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Exciting times ahead for agriculture

Despite the current volatility of prices for agricultural products on world markets, Mary Shelman from Harvard Business School believes exciting times lie ahead with long-term forecasts of strong demand and profitable prices.

Agricultural markets are notoriously cyclical and those variations are inevitable because of the lag between supply and demand. 

With political instability in the Middle East, tensions between Russia and the Ukraine, European reaction to that conflict and concerns about Ebola outbreaks around the world, it is no surprise global dairy auction prices are particularly volatile right now.

"But New Zealand is close to growth markets in Asia and that is a nice place to be," Mary says, confident of continuing market opportunities for New Zealand in China.

People have to eat and new populations of consumers from the likes of China and Africa increasingly have incomes and access to a range of products they could not afford before.

"We expect a fundamental change in demand for food and all producers around the world are trying to figure out how to satisfy that demand," Mary says.

The focus for agribusinesses today is on how to stimulate production, find greater efficiencies, utilise new technology, and meet the social and environmental needs of consumers, she adds.

Together with Professor Damien McLoughlin from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Mary will be co-hosting the Queenstown Agribusiness Symposium in March.

The symposium is a repeat of a similar forum run in 2013 where New Zealand producers, processors, and exporters will participate in a series of export-oriented case studies exploring global trends and market development with an emphasis on issues that are most important to Kiwi agribusinesses.

Supplied content from NZ Farmer Digital Edition: Issue November 10, 2014

Find out more about the symposium

Read the full NZ Farmer article