Member log in

Food safety agreement with China dairy giants

An agreement struck with one of China’s largest dairy companies will help New Zealand sell its agricultural know-how to China.

Government-owned AsureQuality, which provides food safety and biosecurity services, and PwC last night signed a "collaboration framework agreement" with China Mengniu Dairy Company and COFCO Corporation – China’s largest food processor.

The aim is to investigate the development of a China New Zealand agribusiness service and food safety centre of excellence in the Asian giant.

Initially, the parties will work together on a dairy-related food safety and farm assurance project. But it is expected more of New Zealand's agriculture-related companies and research entities will become involved down the track.

AsureQuality sales and marketing manager Mark Inglis says it is too soon to say what the agreement could be worth, but the dollar value will be “quite significant”.

Employing more than 30,000 people, Mengniu Dairy Company is one of China’s largest dairy companies making and distributing a broad range of dairy products.

COFCO – which stands for China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation – is a state-owned food processor, manufacturer and trader with four companies listed in Hong Kong.

AsureQuality chief executive Michael Thomas says the agreement will enable New Zealand’s food safety models, agricultural systems and skils to be provided on a commercial basis in China.

gbond@nbr.co.nz

More by Georgina Bond

Comments and questions
11

And after you've sold your "food safety models, agricultural systems and skills" to China don't go running to the taxpayer for help when the Chinese undercut you in foreign markets around the globe and eventually the NZ domestic market.

Idiots.

Isn't this how we stuffed our kiwifruit offshore market pricing?

By the time the Chinese have saturated their own demand I think we won't have too much to worry about.

But in the really, really short term it is great.

This is exactly what NZ did with the Kiwifruit industry AND don't forget that the idiots also forgot to patent/register the name kiwifruit so had to rename the fruit Zespri.
We never learn lessons!

The Chinese could get this help and knowledge from advanced food manufacturing country. The knowledge is not particularly specific to NZ.
So AsureQuality may as well benefit from the Chinese need. Also there are likely to be spinoffs for NZ food manufactures as AQ develops the relationships with the Chinese.

We need to consider this question very carefully. New Zealand is distinguished by our failure to extract value directly from our intellectual assets. Unlike almost all other economies we embed our high-value intellectual assets in our relatively low-value commodity products, failing to recognise that in many instances the intellectual assets we use to produce our products may be worth more than the products themselves - plus they are weightless and infinitely scalable. It is a positive move that these intellectual assets are being monetised - the issue is much more about proper protection and building enduring aka royalty income streams.

You have an over inflated view of nz's significance in the world if you believe there is nowhere else the Chinese could go to to get this technology and knowhow

The significant IP we do have is our name - New Zealand

From NZ agriculture's point of view, our intellectual property and point of difference is our ability to convert sunlight into pasture (and then animal protein). Globally, there is no name for this, and we (NZ Inc) have the opportunity still to name/brand responsible pastoralism. Not only would the adoption of such a brand elevate our products above commodity, we'd also have a way to sell the impressive products and knowledge associated with our country's major comparative (though these days not necessary competitive) advantage. If we think beyond what we produce to how we produce, we have a fantastic ability to differentiate ourselves. There's more of the argument available at www.pastureharmonies.org The adoption of such an umbrella brand would allow us as individuals to both compete and collaborate in overseas markets.
Our main comparative advantage is the knowledge we've acquired over the past 120 years to convert sunlight into pasture. If we were clever enough to brand/name this 'responsible pastoralism', we'd immediately position our agricultural products above commodity. We'd also provide ourselves with the ability to sell products and services associated with our pastoral method. Finally, we'd clearly provide a means to engage with consumers - providing a story that resonates with how most people would like to think animal protein is grown and arrives on their table. There's more of this argument at www.pastureharmonies.org