Conor English: Banks can have good ideas too

By CONOR ENGLISH Chief executive

My father always used to say, "it's a good idea to go look over the hill".

In this spirit of seeking different views and learning, I recently attended the ANZ Bank's first agribusiness conference in Singapore.

With chief executives attending from around the Asia-Pacific region and from various parts of the supply chain, there were a range of perspectives brought to the forum.

Central to the conference was an ANZ insight paper titled, Greener Pastures: the Global Soft Commodity Opportunity for Australia and New Zealand. Among other things, this identified six key characteristics of successful agricultural industries.

Access to and management of resources - this includes access to key agricultural inputs such as skilled labour as well as land and water.

Targeted research and development investment - this consists of fundamental R&D;, often publicly funded, supported by applied R&D; where private investment is more prevalent.

Effective adoption of tailored knowledge - building and applying knowledge tailored to local operating environments to maximise adoption.

Exposure to high-value markets - strong trading and marketing networks provide access to key global markets, supported by robust trade alliances.

Sufficient access to capital - ability to attract sufficient funds to support industry consolidation, farm turnover and growth-oriented investment.

Robust and cost-effective supply chain - highly competitive, well-capitalised and co-ordinated with the ability of long-term investments.

These key success factors made sense to me, because they are very similar to the strategic policy goals Federated Farmers has in place as part of our strategic plan. It is good to see the banking sector investing in thought leadership, especially so when it aligns with what we seek to achieve.

Now we need our politicians to take a similar strategic approach. As Federated Farmers often says - we do not care who is in government, as long as they agree with us.

With party policy formulation under discussion, I hope that all politicians not only take notice of Federated Farmers' well-articulated views, but also those of our largest rural banker.

Both are about strategic solutions that enhance profitable and sustainable farming for the benefit of all New Zealand.

Conor English was funded to this conference by the ANZ Bank.

- Hamilton News

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