Meat & Wool Industry Good OrganisationMonday, Jul 21, 2003
The draft constitution of the New Meat & Wool Industry Good Organisation Statement of Intent says that “It is the intention of the Company to promote, develop and serve the general advancement of New Zealand red meat and wool farmers by undertaking Industry Good Activities in order to increase the profitability of the red meat and wool industries.” http://www.farmerschoice.co.nz/pdfs/Draft%20Organisation.PDF
From an analysis below by Tony Baldwin it is clear that the industry politics of this change are still being fought in two significant areas
1. Accountability of Directors to the levy payers
2. Inclusion of non levy paying buyer/processors in board structure.
Mr Baldwin has set out in his analysis with some clarity the key issues of the new structure by identifying critical areas where the proposed new structure will perpetuate the weaknesses of the old.
The traditional economic weakness of farmer producers, being many, who sell to the few, remains the underlying reason for the need for producers to organise to manage the public good aspects of an industry.
It seems that the easy part is the creation of a structure for “Industry Good Activities”. The hard part is defining what an industry good is and then managing its development for a positive outcome for the levy payers.
NZ producers have had a long history of believing they were supporting/promoting/developing “our” product in the marketplace when in reality they had long since sold it on to some processor, trader, wholesaler or retailer in the distribution channel more interested in their own profitability that that of the farmer.
This practical approach to problem solving by producers has been taken advantage of by the buyers, processors and traders on a get it while you can basis. Producers need to be very hard nosed about partitioning the industry good expenditures in favour of improved on farm efficiencies ahead of excursions into marketing largess.
For all the investment in advertising and promotion of the past where is realisable brand value now. Such expenditures have been little more than product marketing discounts to the happy traders.
The restructuring of the levy collecting meat and wool has been long over due but the proposed new constitution appears to fall far short of delivering anything more than a continuing unease in the mind of levy payers that they aren’t getting value for their investment.