Monday, 21 November 2011

Food production is good business

# Big Farming Story of the Week: Food production is good business.

Last week’s 2.6% lift in Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade Event was a pretty good outcome considering Europe is on the verge of economic meltdown. The world’s a messy place but people still have to eat. A recent Rabobank report on food supply suggested, in the next 40-50 years, the world needed to double agri-commodity supply with access to only about half of the current land, water and mineral resources. Delivering what is effectively a four-fold improvement is the great challenge facing farmers. All of which suggests food production is a great business to be in.

# Big Political Story of the Week: A Storm in an Epsom Tea Cup!

There’s no doubt the normally unflappable John Key has been rattled somewhat by “cuppa-gate”. Could this be the game-changer Phil, Russel, Winston and Hone are looking for? If that is the case, my problem with MMP is that conceivably we could end up with a Prime Minister who is the preferred PM of just 10% of the country. His party has maybe 30% popular support, yet he could stitch together an unholy alliance where Winston Peters, Hone Harawira and Sue Bradford hold the balance of power. I rest my case.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Tiger’s back and Zac’s been a dumb back.

Tiger Woods is no angel but his return to golf is heaven-sent for TV ratings. When Tiger’s on the charge, as he was in the Australian Open, there are few more exhilarating sights in sport. Whether Zac Guildford will be sighted again in his sport at the top level is now in his own hands.

Most of us have been guilty of doing stupid things under the influence of alcohol. But most of us don’t have a lucrative All Blacks career hanging in the balance as a result. Guildford lost his father in tragic circumstances. But I know from experience he’s not the first 19 year old to have suffered that fate. He needs to put that behind him and gainfully use his God-given gifts or risk spending the rest of his life staring at the bottom of a bottle, wondering what if?

# Brickbat: Endangered Snails.

I really worry about society’s priorities! Recently 800 rare giant snails got a frosty reception when they met their maker after a fridge malfunctioned, making them frozen escargot. Solid Energy had spent $600,000 removing 6000 snails from harm’s way at its opencast mine at Stockton on the West Coast. 4000 of those snails had since been re-released.

So what was the big deal when 800 got the cold shoulder? As Jim Hopkins so eloquently put it on the Farming Show last week, there are separate breeds of rare snails up every valley on the Coast because they’re too slow to climb the hills and breed with those in the next gulley!

Is the world a worse place for the loss of the 800 snails? No! Would that $600,000 be better spent on kids who go to school without breakfast and with little hope of lunch? Yes! I rest my case.

# Bouquet: Nadia Lim.

Seemingly every time you turn on the telly these days you’re confronted with a reality cooking show. So it was with some scepticism I fronted up, as the parent of a diabetic, to MC a promotional event for World Diabetes Day where the celebrity guest was Master Chef winner Nadia Lim. Having never watched the show, I half-expected some sort of reality show bimbo who could barely boil a saveloy.

What I encountered could not have been more contrary. Nadia Lim is an intelligent, articulate and vivacious young woman. Obviously, the dietician with the A-plus grades is a great cook but more importantly she is doing pioneering work for the Diabetes Foundation. Some of us despair on occasion about the younger generation. The Nadia Lims of this world fill me with great hope.

Jamie Mackay is the host of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB.


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