There could be lessons for the UK to learn from New Zealand’s focus on exports.
Levy board Beef and Lamb New Zealand has been consulting on whether to raise its levy, with the extra money specifically aimed at promotion.
It was believed farmers would not be opposing the levy, but the board would be under greater scrutiny if it went ahead.
If approved, it would increase the sheepmeat levy by 10 cents/head (5p/head) to 70c/head (37p/head) per head and the beef levy by 80c/head (42p/head) to NZ$5.20/head (£2.73/head).
Beef and Lamb NZ said the cash would be invested in the international rollout of its Taste Pure Nature and Red Meat Story campaigns, ‘helping the sector lift its environmental performance reputation, telling the farmer story better, and strengthening its capability to address biosecurity risks’.
National Sheep Association (NSA) chief executive Phil Stocker said NZ was better than the UK on industry promotion, due to its focus on exports across all agricultural sectors.
He said: “The whole industry buys into this national image of being clean and green. There are some real lessons for us to learn about the industry coming together and giving a real framework.
“I think our production and our markets are much more diverse. We have a wider range of even sheepmeat products, but you can still set an overarching brand for the industry. You can brand and then sub-brand.”
Mr Stocker said while there was no suggestion AHDB was looking to increase the levy in the UK, NSA would like to see the ‘lion’s share’ of current levy money spent on product promotion and market development.
He said: “This is where farmers would like to see money spent.
“We generally agree with it. We accept the work being done on research and some knowledge transfer is useful.
“With Brexit, the need is for market development.”