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Oysters Have Big Future in NZ Agribusiness

NEW ZEALAND - Clevedon Coast Oysters is a company that exemplifies the future of New Zealand agribusiness, according to Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton.

During his visit to the company's processing facilities in Clevedon he said the company had taken a long-term strategic view of their product and market, and deliberately aimed high.

"This exemplifies the vision I presented last week to participants at the Primary Industry Summit in Christchurch. New Zealand cannot hope to compete against countries that rely on the exploitation of cheap labour or the exhaustion of their physical environment. We must position ourselves at the top of the value chain, as producers of high quality, environmentally sustainable foods," said Mr Anderton

Sustainability has been identified as New Zealand's greatest marketing advantage and oyster culture is one of the best examples the country has of sustainable, productive and profitable seafood business.

"These farms have minimal impact on the natural environment and our oysters feed on a naturally-occurring and renewable food source - plankton," he said.

This market positioning has been taken a step further by Clevedon Coast Oysters through their organic certification to the internationally recognised AgriQuality Organic Standard.

Mr Anderton said the high quality of the natural environment and clean waters surrounding New Zealand make it one of the most ideal countries in the world for growing seafoods.

"Our isolation and pristine waters provide New Zealand with a unique point of differentiation in global markets. To ensure our position at the top end of world markets, we must continue to maintain the high quality of our food products and the high quality of our natural environment," he added.

He assured the seafood industry of the government's long term commitment and of the key role it had as a partner in this process.

A recent industry report from Rabobank suggests said that aquaculture is the world's fastest-growing supply of food protein and New Zealand is well-placed for growing seafoods.