Agriculture Remains the Primary IndustryWednesday, May 2, 2001
Mild weather continues into May giving some expectation, that with more rain, early winter-pasture growth
may be better than had been expected. The dry spell continues in much of the country
A late season drought is the worst of all droughts because it can have such a major impact on the next
It is a measure of the resourcefulness and independence of today’s farmers that there has been
little demand for government assistance and the image of distraught farmers asking for handouts is
well in our past.
Affected farmers handle the drought problem with pragmatic acceptance down pretty clearly defined lines.
Stock numbers are reduced and supplementary feed organised. Incomes are lowered, budgets adjusted,
expenditures deferred and financing arranged.
All in all a smooth process that with the minimum of fuss contains a major upheaval for the individual
But the real impact of the drought is the growing realization by the urban economy that a small shift
in rural production will have major impact on their own well-being.
For the second time a drought has brought home the very clear interdependence between the rural and
urban economies. As much as the vision of a new economy was about dumping the old it seems that the
new won’t progress without the old.
Agriculture is still the primary industry in NZ.