Agriculture is arguably one of the leading foreign exchange earners in New Zealand, contributing to almost two-thirds of the country’s exports. The government over the years has encouraged agricultural activities in New Zealand mainly through government subsidies and investment in agricultural infrastructure such as farm extension services, better roads to take the agricultural produce to the market and providing a favourable business environment, especially in the agricultural export market. Pastoral farming has dominated the New Zealand agricultural sector over the years, but farmers are taking up horticultural farming, which is seen as a more cost-effective and modern way of farming.
In New Zealand, animal farming is pasture-based in that cows and sheep are rarely housed but left in an open field where they can graze and are mostly fed on silage and hay but not on large amounts of grains. Pigs are kept indoors in group houses, fattening pens or farrowing crates.
Future of Agriculture In New Zealand
When discussing the future of agriculture in New Zealand, we need to consider factors such as demand, supply, and what other countries that rely on agriculture are doing. With countries such as China, India and the United States raising the demand for agricultural commodities, it can be argued that New Zealand stands to benefit more due to the increased demand. The country, in turn, needs to expand on the agricultural output to satisfy this market through the mechanisation of agriculture or by producing high-quality products that will stand the competition from other countries that export agricultural produce.
Greenhouse gas emission, pollution and global warming are some of the challenges that are threatening the survival of the agricultural industry around the globe. Governments, environmental activists and the farmers themselves need to find solutions to these challenges, which will in turn help transform the agricultural sector in New Zealand and around the world.