'Made in New Zealand' could be the most important words in the future of NZ Agriculture

'Made in New Zealand' could be the most important words in the future of NZ Agriculture

Fifth-generation Methven farmer and former Nuffield Scholar Hamish Marr has been appointed New Zealand's Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, taking over the role from Mel Poulton who served in the role since 2020.

Marr told REX host Dominic George he is very humbled and privileged to have been offered the role on behalf of all the farmers and exporters in Aotearoa.

He explained his role is to communicate between Kiwi farmers and international importers and vice versa to create the best possible relationship between farmers and their international business partners.

"Agriculture is the number one thing in town and we have to get it right," Marr said.

"Understanding the needs of our customers offshore so that the farmers are producing products that the people that are purchasing our product want to buy.

"It's really about circular economy and ensuring that both sectors are engaged."

Marr has a 500-hectare mixed arable farm with his family, which produces seeds, and crops, has a lamb operation, creates dairy heifers all year and dairy grazing on the side, giving him a wide variety of experience across the agricultural sector.

He likes New Zealand's point of difference and told George that Aotearoa has a great story to tell and a lot to offer the rest of the world.

"We're a small Island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in a lovely climate.

"Our soils are young because we haven't been doing it very long and we're in a production environment where we essentially have got the free market economy which means our farmers, by nature, are pretty agile."

The way New Zealand produces food in comparison to the rest of the world is a massive point of difference for exporters and Marr said there is a massive market for the way Kiwis farm.

"People think that milk is milk, meat is meat and seed is seed but actually it's not.

"There's a market that's looking for our milk, there's a market that's looking for our seed, there's certainly a market that's looking for our meat, our kiwifruit etc.

"We're in a pretty good spot we just have to get it right."

In his experience overseas, Marr learnt the importance of 'Made in New Zealand' produce and told George maintaining a reputation for high-quality kiwi products is the key to sustainable growth in international markets.

"People will literally jump over themselves to buy our products so it's very, very important that we look after that brand and realise that that brand is very, very precious.

He believes understanding what the market would like from Kiwi produce will create the best opportunity for Kiwi farmers to make the most of international export opportunities.

Listen to the full chat between New NZ Special Agricultural Trade Envoy Hamish Marr and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Today Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Today live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

Visit the Rural Exchange Facebook or Instagram page for more information and regular updates from the REX team.