Now is the time to place wellness front and centre in our agri-food story if we really want to secure our share of the value we grow.

In his latest Agri-business agenda, KPMG global head of agribusiness Ian Proudfoot said the food people eat is central to preventative healthcare systems.

''New Zealand's agri-food sector is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities arising, as governments around the world prioritise investment in preventative healthcare. Over the next decade, food will become integral to how health and wellness is managed, with the role of food as a medicine dominating how organisations develop, produce and distribute their products.

''We have talked a lot over the last decade about the need to make a step change in our primary sector from volume to value. We now believe this will be best achieved by focusing on transitioning from volume to wellness,'' Proudfoot said.


Farmers and growers 'should be proud' of progress made over past decade

A key recommendation made in the report is that the industry needs to take a far more active role in ensuring we feed every New Zealander properly.

''New Zealand can't afford to continue to be home to one of the world's most unhealthy communities if we want to tell the world about the natural, healthy, nutritionally dense food we grow in New Zealand,'' Proudfoot said.

Having a plan to adequately feed all five million Kiwis before the first tonne is exported should be a goal for the industry.

KPMG global head of agribusiness Ian Proudfoot. Photo / File
KPMG global head of agribusiness Ian Proudfoot. Photo / File

The agenda suggests wellness extends beyond just health, with the industry clearly understanding the expectations of the wider community and that the licence to operate it is granted as a privilege as opposed to a right.

Ensuring appropriate penalties were enforced on those who failed to protect their animals ranked in the top 10 issues for industry leaders in the annual priorities survey for the first time.

Proudfoot suggested this recognised that practices that had been acceptable in the past because ''the end justified the means'' were no longer acceptable.

While primary sector and farming leaders recognise the industry has a key role to play in transitioning to a zero carbon future, the report noted everybody is starting their journey from a different place.


There was also recognition land use and farming systems will in some cases have to change, best achieved through a mechanism that ''incentivises progress rather than delivering retribution for past actions''.

Biosecurity retained the number one ranking in the annual priorities survey for the ninth consecutive year.

''As our borders become more open, the likelihood of an incursion from a pest like the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug grows and leaders highlighted the need to invest ahead of an incursion. M. bovis has also demonstrated how quickly an incursion can move from being a national, governmental issue to localised and personal issue ... which highlights how important it is that every organisation has developed risk management plans for biosecurity,'' Proudfoot noted.