$77b export bonanza awaits Hawke's Bay

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Hawke's Bay has the potential to capture up to $77 billion more in agricultural exports by 2050 if targeted actions are taken, an ANZ report says.

Greener pastures: The Global Soft Commodity Opportunity for Australia and New Zealand quantifies the opportunity open to New Zealand agriculture due to the shift in global economic growth to Asia.

Graham Turley, ANZ New Zealand managing director commercial & agri, says rising incomes and changing diets in developing countries mean the world will demand 60 per cent more agricultural output by 2050, compared with 2005-2007.

"This presents huge opportunities for New Zealand, and for Hawke's Bay. With abundant land, resources and skills, and proximity to the growth markets of Asia, Hawke's Bay's agricultural sector is ideally positioned to help meet this demand," he said.

The report estimated New Zealand could gain an extra $550 billion in agricultural exports - increasing to $1.3 trillion with favourable conditions and targeted actions. For Hawke's Bay, this translates to a potential boost of $29 billion to $77 billion in agricultural exports by 2050.

"But this opportunity will not materialise by itself," Mr Turley warns. "Significant barriers will have to be overcome at every step of the supply chain, requiring substantial investment. These include sourcing capital to fund growth, attracting skilled labour, boosting education and R&D;, and improving farm productivity and supply chains."

Mr Turley, who recently visited the Bay to speak with key rural and commercial customers, singled out the Ruataniwha Water Storage Project as an example of the capital-intensive investment needed.

"This project encapsulates all the vital ingredients including land-use change, productivity gains and intensification. The feasibility report predicts a substantial boost to local GDP and employment.

"Hawke's Bay's economy is heavily based on primary industries - the performance of the region is tied to the decisions made about land use. There are significant opportunities through increased productivity and intensification. How you harness and manage water resource is going to be fundamental to realising the potential."

He said ANZ was ready to support farmers to take part in the storage project: "We are also keen to work with the regional council and other stakeholders to support the significant off-farm infrastructure investment that will be needed to make the scheme a reality."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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