13 Nov 2015

Valuable Insights

From Country Life, 9:40 pm on 13 November 2015
IFAJ Bootcamp Members

IFAJ Bootcamp Members Photo: Brett Worthington/ABC

Stories about New Zealand's clean and green image and farming without subsidies will be headlines in overseas media following a recent visit by ten young international journalists.

In New Zealand last month as part of a study tour arranged by the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators, the group spent a week looking at Waikato farms and hearing from agri-business leaders.

Brett Worthington from the ABC Country Hour summed up the group's feeling saying "our perception is New Zealand's got this clean and green image and yet you come here and it sounds as if you're having this sustainable and environmental debate here.  You get the perception within the country that it's not as clean and green as you get from outside the country. So that sort of disconnect stuck out to me."

However the group was impressed with how innovative New Zealand farmers are and how they've  adapted to farming successfully without subsidies.

Asked what issues were big in agriculture in their home countries and they talked about the milk crisis. Just over a year ago Russia banned imports of EU dairy products, leaving many countries awash with milk.
Camilla Olsson from Sweden says every week about five dairy farms are closing down because they're losing too much money.  

In Finland Andrea Berman says Russia used to be their biggest market for milk and now that's closed, Finland is left with a lot of product.

"We've already made alot of cheese,  packaged with Russian labels. We call that the Putin cheese which is of course the Russian president. We can buy the Putin cheese much cheaper than the Finnish version although it's the same kind of cheese, but it has a Russian label on it, so nobody buys the Finnish cheese, that's a big problem."


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