Biosecurity, water availability, social licence and chemical resistance were pressing issues for farming identified by attendees at a recent Women In Arable meeting in Ashburton.

Guest speaker, former Far boss Nick Pyke asked those present to consider the big issues in farming now, and how farming in Mid Canterbury might look in 2040.

Market reliability, government relationships, waste management and urban spread were also seen as issues for farmers.

Imported products, their markets and how New Zealand producers could fill those markets with similar or alternative products was raised and discussed.


Mr Pyke, now a director of Left Field Innovation, said New Zealand had many points which set it apart from overseas competitors.

Former Far boss Nick Pyke. Photo / Supplied
Former Far boss Nick Pyke. Photo / Supplied

It had stable soils, skilled food producers, a temperate climate, government stability and integrity, safety and plenty of water.

Other countries had to contend with extreme climate, water shortages or political instability.

''We have water to help us overcome some of those issues,'' Mr Pyke said.

''Most places where people are, water is pretty high-need.''

With so much food needed in markets where water was an issue, New Zealand should consider growing specifically for their needs.

He asked why New Zealand grew the produce it did when there were such expansive market options for other crops. Staple foods such as rice, wheat, maize and potatoes were just four types of 30,000 edible plant varieties, he said.

He was not necessarily pushing for change, but wanted growers to consider other viable markets that could be opened if there was a will.


It was time to consider using a consumer-centric value web, which made the consumer the central focus and gave producers a direct link with who was buying their produce, he said.

As such, it was important to know the buying trends in offshore markets and have direct contact with them.