A commentary on the goat industry
The traditional forms of agriculture in New Zealand have been providing an ever diminishing return for its primary participants - the meat, wool and dairy farmer. Diversification has been the popular call to farmers. There are two very basic flaws in this "idea" which fundamentally preclude our farmers from major worthwhile changes in direction: (a) Diversification takes time - years to achieve. (Apart from which much farmland is not suitable to much else but pastoral farming). (b) Financial constraints - if he could afford to spend the money major diversification needs, the farmer wouldn't need to diversify! The net effect of this is that the institutions, organisations and individuals involved with farming have busied themselves with piecemeal and short-term "band-aid" solutions. This, rather than trying to devise a much broader approach to re-aligning the economy at large. There has been a general failure to approach agriculture as a vital and integral part of our total society/economy. With greater access to funds the city businessman has been best placed to take advantage of a sitution requiring large cash inputs, tax write downs and at the end of it all, a return on his capital. As a consequence, the lead in the diversification stakes has often been taken by the so called "Queen Street farmer" - e.g. kiwifruit and deer. This in turn has meant that subdivision of his land has usually been the farmers "best" means of diversification. The goat industry - fibre based as opposed to dairy - is the latest such industry to attract the big city dollars.... [Show full abstract]
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