APPLY NOW! 2021 NUFFIELD NZ FARMING SCHOLARSHIPS Applications close 23 August 2020
Are you an emerging leader with ideas you’d like to explore and bring to life?
Do you have a desire to help shape and lead the future of the Primary Industry?
If you are, then we strongly encourage you to apply for a Nuffield NZ Farming Scholarship.
There’s no better time then right now to fast track your development as an emerging leader with our Food and fibre sector positioned as the only sector to lead our national economic recovery. Become an expert in your chosen field of study and lead the conversations on the issues the agri-food sector faces today.
A Nuffield experience will help you develop personally, build new networks and gain new insights to share within the business and wider-agri sector.
There is no better way to expand and broaden your experience, transform your way of thinking than a Nuffield Scholarship.
APPLY NOW! For a 2021 Nuffield NZ Scholarship and become a world class leader for our country.
Please forward scholarship enquiries to email@example.com.
Five $40,000 NZ Scholarships available Applications close on Sunday 23 August 2020.
Applications for the 2021 intake are OPEN NOW and closing soon – on 23 August 2020!
There are five scholarships available, each worth $40,000, for New Zealand farmers, growers and agribusiness professionals looking to broaden your horizons, grow your networks and gain some global experience in the agri sector.
We welcomed Rabobank on board as a Programme Partner in January this year and look forward to working with them and tapping into their extensive international and national networks and expertise. As the only Co-op bank focused on the Rural Sector, we could not have signed up a better partner. Relationships are two-way so we urge you to consider Rabobank for your banking requirements and to tap into their extensive resources below.
Rabobank Research Podcasts
Rabobank’s global team of 90 food and agribusiness analysts regularly record podcasts where they discuss the latest developments in food & agri sectors & provide insights on what these developments mean for kiwi farmers.
The podcasts are a fast and easy way to gain a better understanding of how Covid-19 and other key industry developments are likely to impact your business.
To check out the podcasts, search for ‘Rabobank’ on your favourite podcast app & subscribe or you can access the podcasts on their website or follow this link to the Rabobank website.
We are delighted that our our relationship with Agmardt will continue for the next three years, following the re-signing of their Strategic Partner agreement with Rural Leaders.
We cannot acknowledge enough the incredible support provided by Agmardt to our programmes and events.
Vote Now! DairyNZ Levy Vote
The DairyNZ levy vote is open.
Please make sure you vote and get others to vote also. Now more than ever we need a dairy organisation representing the industry at government policy level, doing scientific research, and supporting many programmes including leadership and people capability for the sector.
We are pleased to announce that Chris Parsons joined us on Monday, 4th May as our new CEO. Chris was recently interviewed by Rural News and would like to convey the following message:
“To all of you on the journey to develop your leadership, well done! It is a transformative journey. The learnings you absorb over the Kellogg course will have life long impact, not only improving the quality of your connections with others but also in multiplying your ability for positive impact. Leadership is a life-long journey and I look forward to journeying with you. “
At the end of April we farewelled Anne Hindson who has led Rural Leaders from its inception. Her early pioneering work with Patrick Aldwell and Richard Green and Tony Zwart has been critical to the coordination of the iconic Nuffield and Kellogg Leaders programmes and their continual modernisation to ensure that modern scholars get world class leadership development.
We were sad to see Anne go, but grateful for her vision and commitment to the primary sector and Rural Leaders over the last six years.
Rural Leader’s Board appoints new Trustee – Kate Scott
At our recent AGM the Rural Leaders Board welcomed Kate Scott (2018 Nuffield Scholar) as a new Trustee, who replaced James Parsons. The Board will also be seeking to elect a new Independent appointed Trustee, following the recent resignation of Louise Webster.
This will hopefully be the last E-Nuff in the current format, as we develop a new look e-newsletter which covers the activities of ‘Rural Leaders’ and includes updates on both programmes.
Much of what we want to say is relevant to both groups of alumni (some of who overlap) so the new E newsletter will have organisation updates with the option to click through to the latest Nuffield or Kellogg news including scholar reports, insights and updates specific to each programme or group of alumni.
Our ‘E-Nuff’ & ‘Kellogg Konnect’ will be retained for use when conversing with each group on a programme only basis.
Key Activities since last E-Nuff
A new initiative for 2019, 6 regions were chosen to host a Regional Alumni networking event, bringing together different cohorts and both Kellogg and Nuffield alumni. With Napier/Hastings, Tauranga, Whangarei, Blenheim, Gore & Hamilton locations there was a mix of our smaller and larger regions.
The purpose of the initiative was to provide a vehicle for:
alumni to meet each other – across programmes & cohorts
reconnect with Rural Leaders & its developments as a new Trust
introduce potential new applicants to both programmes
hear the reports and experience of a recent Nuffielder and Kellogger from the region
investing partners regional reps to connect with alumni for B2B and network development
One of the highlights demonstrating the power and history of the programmes was in Waikato where we had an original Kellogger from Course 1 1979 and a current Kellogger from Course 40. Similar span of alumni years were also seen in other regions.
After fantastic feedback, despite the late timing of the events, the plan is to roll out the concept in 6 more regions next year. Meanwhile we will work with each of the recent region hosts to determine a sustainable networking format for the future.
Feedback has been really positive about the benefits of networking and potentially providing some upskilling opportunities and/or providing a voice on some regional issues although in some regions we battle the problem of distance with some having to drive over 2 hours each way to attend a central location.
The recruitment of a full time marketing person will provide a much needed resource and ability to be much more effective with our external and internal communications and relationships and keeping the brand presence throughout the year. We hope to report our new appointment in the next newsletter in early December.
A board sub committee has been working with Scott Champion on refining our strategy and business plan over the next few years as we respond to market changes but more importantly work on developing and growing our alumni programme and influence.
Our 2020 Nuffield Scholarships have recently closed and the selection process is underway. This year we have a good number of female candidates with six being shortlisted so we hope that we can achieve a better gender balance this year. The Awards will be held at Parliament, hosted by Hon Damien O’Connor, on 5 November (a relevant place to be on Guy Fowkes). Watch for the pre announcement email to alumni announcing the 2020 scholars.
The Awards will be preceded by a forum with the 2019 Scholars sharing their global insights and discussing implications for the industry with our investing partners & Trustees, hosted by KPMG.
The Nuffield2020 Triennial is gaining momentum with an updated programme released and registrations opening on 1 September. Check out the website here https://www.nuffield2020.com/programme.
We are really pleased to welcome some new partners who have come on board to support this international event alongside our existing Rural Leader investing partners. Check out the next Triennial EDM for the latest details & updates. The one day Summit is shaping up to be a great event and watch out for speaker announcements shortly.
The support of our New Zealand alumni to attend and host our international guests is critical to the success as we want to showcase some of our leading business models, on farm and environmental practices and agri tech to our international colleagues & guests.
Chair, Michael Tayler and the team are hoping all alumni will use the event to encourage reunions of your Nuffield cohort and international networks.
Kellogg Course 1 2020 Applications close: 14 October
2020 Nuffield Scholar Awards: 5 November
2019 Scholar Insights Forum: 5 November
Kellogg Course 40 phase 3 presentations: 25-28 November
Nuffield2020 Early bird registrations close: 30 November
Nuffield International 2019 Africa Agribusiness Tour Ben Todhunter (New Zealand, 2006 Nuffield Scholar)
In May and June of this year, Nuffield International organized a tour through East Africa for past scholars and invited participants.
A tour overland through Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe for 24 days was always going to be an ambitious and challenging undertaking. But what an opportunity! Having family history in Tanzania had always put East Africa on the travel list, and when the chance came up to visit on a Nuffield tour, I was in. The attraction of travelling with other like-minded people from around the world while learning about Africa and interacting with locals seemed like an opportunity too good to be true – especially if someone else organized it.
On 20th May 10 Kiwis, 1 Aussie, 2 Canadians and our guide
Wayne Dredge met in Nairobi, with local contact Dr. Sarah Flowers. The team
represented a wide range of expertise and interests including fishing,
genetics, feedlot beef production, large scale dairy, forestry, hill country
sheep and beef, fine wool, broad acre cropping, guided hunting, tropical dairy,
transport and the oil industry.
Twenty-four days later we all departed Victoria Falls as firm
friends having shared an amazing experience with some stories to tell, and
Jim Geltch and Jean Lonie asked me to provide a bit of a summary of the trip in a couple of pages and I must say because of the sheer scale of what we observed and the country we covered I have been procrastinating at the daunting prospect of condensing all that down
to a few pages of pithy points. It’s sort of like writing a Nuffield Scholar
report in executive summary form. My apologies in advance because I think I
might fail on the two-page limit.
But first the funeral. Wayne’s partner, Caroline, who was to travel
with us had her father pass away as the trip started. We extended our
sympathies as best as you can in the circumstances and missed her presence for
Wayne provided some very useful basic facts prior to our trip and I will do the same here as context:
Population (density: people/sqKM)
2050 population projection (million)
Agriculture (as % GDP)
GDP growth over last 4 years
2018 GDP per capita (USD PPP)
Sources: Wikipedia & World Bank
These countries have all got young populations and are going through
the phase of population growth driven in part by improved longevity and reduced
infant mortality. As female education and opportunity improves it is expected
the rate of population growth will slow. However, with the demographic make- up
of the population there is a long lag time before population growth slows.
This large pool of cheaper labour is starting to attract some
interest for business as some Asian countries age and become more expensive.
Mobile phone coverage is good, so Africa is potentially leapfrogging through
some technology changes such as missing the fixed line era and developing
mobile banking apps that work in their markets.
Kenya and Tanzania have been growing consistently and strongly,
Zambia less so and Zimbabwe has had some growth but contracted last year and
looks set to do the same again this year.
Our first place to stay was the Karen Blixen Coffee house in Nairobi. Blixen wrote “Out of Africa” and her story mirrors some of the stories of success and progress and decline that are intertwined with some African narratives. At one stage she wrote:
“Here at long last one is in a position not to give a damn for all conventions, here was a new kind of freedom which until then one had only found in dreams”
The freedom to do as one pleased and be free of regulation and
bureaucracy, especially in the labour and land management areas, was cited by
many people we visited as one of the advantages of living in Africa. Sadly for
Blixen her first husband had a bit too much freedom and she reportedly
contacted syphilis from him which she claimed affected her health for the rest
of her life.
Our accommodation was generally in gated lodges and to a high standard. It did remove us from some of the hurly burly of African life but it was maybe designed to restrict some of
our aforementioned freedoms and to keep us safe.
Farming is not viewed as a great career in Kenya but land ownership
is a sign of success. An aspiration to build a house on one’s own plot was
regularly mentioned. Simplistically land is owned by larger farmers and
corporates and by small holders. The small holders may be subsistence farmers
but also may have other jobs and use the land to provide food for the family
and additional income. Some of the small holders in higher rainfall areas run
incredibly productive diverse systems, with pigs, chickens, vanilla, bananas,
avocados and timber trees.
One of the opportunities to improve the lot for communities in East Africa is to improve the lot of the smallholder. Many NGO’s focus on this group but where we saw real opportunity and progress was with commercial enterprises providing and scaling commercial solutions for these smaller farmers.
A useful example of this is Margaret Munene, the owner of Palmhouse Dairies. She described her journey building a dairy business which was working with 500 mainly women suppliers with 3-4 cows to provide a healthy product to consumers and provide profit to suppliers. Some of her key challenges (which are not just limited to Kenya) are:
Farmers need credit, so
Palmhouse provided and took off the milk cheque.
High costs of inputs e.g. feed is purchased for the cows and is expensive.
A resistance to the cost of vet
care for the cows so vets are used and cost is taken from the milk cheque.
Infrastructure for collection.
Collection points, measurement, QA, poor roading. Interestingly Kenya
decentralizing and going to a federal system has improved infrastructure.
Seasonality of production.
Inadequate farm R & D, so Palmhouse is providing Tech transfer
to suppling farmers.
These economies are often cash based and Palmhouse endeavoured to pay into bank accounts which reduced the opportunity for corruption but also had the advantage of giving the women more control over their finances. Margaret was then able to set up the Palmhouse Foundation that has
helped to educate over 1000 children from poorer areas.
Natural Extracts Industries in Moshi, Tanzania was another business solving the problems of traceability and QA with small holders by using mobile solutions. Now with 4500 farmers supplying vanilla one interesting strategy had been to train “champion” farmers to help with distribution, scaling, R & D, and tech transfer.
One of the major challenges of dealing with smallholders is ‘side
selling’. For many storable products there are a range of traders with dubious
reputations offering cash at farm gate. This is not just an African issue.
Where support for small holders did not appear to be
commercially driven it looked to me to be a recipe for locking these people
into subsistence farming.
We had a look at Dudutech, a smart Integrated Pest Management company, delivering biological pest control solutions into the East African market, demonstrating what can be achieved with good execution. The visit also highlighted some of the local talent available for
these businesses and some of the cultural biases evident. Where we had a local
and foreign executive presenting to us the foreign one often dominated the
conversation but did not necessarily dominate in the knowledge or skills area.
Dudutech was one of the few companies where environmental concerns
were explicitly mentioned. Environmental issues will affect Africa but the trip
highlighted that provision for the environment generally comes after economic
growth and food provision.
Another encounter with game in Zimbabwe led to ‘NDE No1’. There may be different interpretations of the events that lead up to this Near-Death Experience, but in the nature of history writing, he who holds the pen has the say. Rhinos are so valuable for poaching that they are generally under
24- hour armed guard. Visiting a game preserve with four Rhinos, we were
allowed to go to the fence of the enclosure they were gathered in at night.
Standing at the fence was an incredible experience as Rhinos came up to check
out the visitors and some of us could scratch their horns with only a fence
that looked like matchsticks to a rhino between us.
One of our team, who shall remain nameless, chose to get a different look out to the side at the open entrance to the enclosure. This appeared to attract the male rhino who came and walked out of the gate past said member. Having a wild Rhino go past within a meter of you is an unforgettable moment. What also is unforgettable is watching the rest of the team scatter as the Rhino proceeded to do two charges. Luckily for us, and for Derek, air – and not much
at that – separated the Rhino from contact. Pulling his hamstring as he outran
one of nature’s fastest and more dangerous animals will be a story to tell and
As we drove the roads of Kenya and Tanzania, we saw herders grazing
their flocks of sheep or goats or herds of cows. Many of the animals looked in
poor condition and the land appeared overgrazed. A historical herding culture
and their displacement from traditional lands is leading to poor land
management and a complex issue that will be difficult to solve. Good grazing
management has the potential to regenerate soils throughout Africa but dealing
with the cultural and property right issues to enable this will not be easy.
Looking at some of the cropping soils also outlined some of the challenges.
Continued mechanical cultivation led to reduced organic matter and poorer
structured soils. Using No Till and cover crops improved this but finding a way
to incorporate animals into the rotations seemed an opportunity to further
improve these soils.
Driving the Tanzanian roads it’s impossible to avoid the traffic police. Virtually every town had traffic officers on the outskirts which did not appear to be serving any safety purpose. Foreign vans seemed to be fair game and may have provided more opportunity for revenue.
We got a bit bored with this game and started getting our bigger
members to ‘listen in’ on the judicial discussions. Our attempts at
intimidation probably made no difference but made us feel a bit better and more
One of the issues in Tanzania appeared to be the acceptance that the
government could have a large say in your lives such as the overzealous
policing. This carried over into the potential to interfere in markets for
agricultural products and was one of the bigger risks for investment in this
Driving the roads, we are also confronted with the sheer logistics
challenges present. To export avocados from Mkushi in Zambia requires 4-day
trips to Mombasa in Kenya or Cape Town in South Africa. A 12-hour trip crossing
the Tanzanian border into Zambia along parts of the northern Zambian arterial
road in a confined van with a driver not used to our personal hygiene practices
was a challenge for much of the group. The road a main linkage to the mines in
the Congo and Western Zambia was a mess and was chocka with fuel tankers
servicing these mines.
The Mombasa Nairobi Highway is a vital arterial link from the coast for Kenya, and for the land- locked countries of Burundi, Eastern DR Congo, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda and carries more than 50% of goods traded in the East African Community. Given the scale of trucking and traffic the road is grossly inadequate and dangerous. On our way to Tanzania we were halted for a five- truck pile up. A toll expressway is due for construction to start to replace the road cutting travel times by more than half.
China has invested in infrastructure throughout Africa including the Nairobi-Mombasa Railway. There are criticisms of this investment and in some places, it is highly visible and may not be delivering the purported benefits. Improving infrastructure and access to global markets is important for African development. To my mind if you wanted to invest in Africa, you would want to do it very carefully, you would want to deeply understand the local laws and cultures, and you would want strong relationships with the people you were dealing with on the ground. The risks for that investment are high. I don’t see that Chinese investment in Africa is any different and it looks to me that some of this investment will benefit African countries more than Chinese companies.
The World Agroforestry center in Nairobi had some gems of research for industry such as speeding up and reducing the cost of soil testing with hyperspectral imaging, new crops for semi-arid lands and crop selection decision support tools. It however did have the appearance of an institution a bit removed from industry.
African farmers do not appear to be immune from the economics of
agricultural product cycles. We saw much investment in Avocado and macadamia
production, which would be a cautionary tale for those investing in these
products elsewhere – unless you have a supply window advantage. Macadamias
present a challenge as a storable product that makes theft a viable
proposition. Security costs and slippage were cited as reasons not to plant
Labour costs are another notable difference to our production systems. We have invested heavily to systematize and reduce labour costs. It was foreign then to see areas where labour is still used in processes that could be mechanized. Given the costs of labour at $1USD to $3USD/day this is entirely rational. Large areas, of mainly women,
de-husking and sorting maize seed by hand was a common sight on Maize seed
farms. I felt uncomfortable when taking photos of these women and they often
asked for money.
The African women are to be admired. Not just for their carriage and physical appearance, but mainly for their persistence and diligence at work. It is not uncommon to see one walking with a child carried front and back and a load on
head and in hand. Pulling up at a Zambian petrol station and having drunk men
on one side and women trading products on the other was an extreme example of
the working roles of the different sexes.
Social License is increasingly used as a term in New Zealand in
relation to farmers ability to carry out their work with the support of the
whole community. In some ways this appeared to be magnified in Africa. Those
farmers who were embedded as part of the community, tended to have less
problems whether that be with theft or getting things done quicker and
generally had less trouble. Being part of the community sometimes included
providing healthcare and education.
One of the benefits of travelling on a tour like this is the
strength of the Nuffield brand and network. The access to top farms and the
willingness for capable people to give up their time to show us their
enterprises and to come and talk to us provided so much depth to our
experience. As an example, in Dodoma we dined with the ex-president of
Tanzania. Having local people travel with us providing commentary and insight
throughout the journey helped with our understanding of the history, geography
and cultures of the countries we visited. Enjoying many sundowners with groups
of locals after a day travelling and visiting provided rich memories for the
participants. Special thanks to Ellie Stanley, Sarah Flowers, and Rob Fisher
who travelled with us for parts of the trip and were very generous with their
time and knowledge.
Kafue fisheries near Lusaka, Zambia was a fascinating visit. Run by the character Speedy Holden the integrated pig and fish farm is circular in nature.
Pigs are farmed on pond banks, effluent from the pigs is washed into
fishponds of Tilapia fish. The effluent promotes algae growth which the fish
feed on and then the water is drained out through reed wetlands to reenter the
river in as good a state as it leaves it. The feed conversion efficiency for
the fish didn’t fully support some of the claims but it was an impressive
operation. Speedy provided an interesting example of an unintended consequence.
He gives thanks to Bill Gates, on a daily basis, claiming the Gates foundation
provision of insecticide treated mosquito nets provides a cheap fishing net
resource which pollutes waterways and reduces insect populations in rivers and
hence wild fish stocks, thus reducing Speedy’s competition.
Land ownership throughout Southern Africa is a highly charged topic,
and Speedy made the comment that “there will be no major portions of white land
ownership in Africa in 20 years.” Given population pressures and political
realities it appears the ability to hold onto larger, single family land
holdings in the future will be difficult. Better to invest in highly productive
smaller areas or further down the value chain.
“Near Death Experience
2.” Travelling out to view wildlife from Victoria Falls one morning a few of
our team got closer than they wanted too. A large Elephant came out of the bush
and their driver swerved to avoid it. They just missed the ellie, but went off
the road and rolled the vehicle. Fortunately, again they were all well and
unharmed, but unfortunately for them by the time they got another vehicle and
had a look for wildlife the viewing wasn’t the best.
Zimbabwe appeared to be a basket case but also presented the most opportunities. There are fuel and power shortages as the country lacks foreign currency to pay for them. There was an upwelling of hope after Mugabe’s ousting as President. His successor Mnangagwa was Mugabe’s enforcer and has not delivered the hoped for, improvements. What is impressive is the way people are innovating and trading and finding ways to operate when an economy is not functioning effectively. For many, finding ways to generate USD or trade using USD has been the way to operate. Sadly, Zimbabwe has now banned these practices, which looks to me like they will need to have a crisis of some sort before the country can start moving forward. The opportunities are enormous
in this country and we saw pockets of investment. It looks too hard just now
but could be worth watching.
Farming has been tough in Zimbabwe, and farmers have the choices to
get out, to get on with it, or to get bitter. The resilience of those who have moved
and those who have stayed is impressive. Many Zimbabwean farmers are now
driving farming productivity in other parts of Africa. The Zim roads are still
in ok order and there are many farming assets sitting idle. There is a cluster
of Zim farmers in Mkushi, Zambia starting to rebuild their lives after losing
land in Zimbabwe.
Religion has been a strong part of these farmers lives and belief
systems and continues to be so. Access to capital is difficult and the ability
to borrow against a land asset is not the same as in NZ. Cashflow then becomes
Zambia as a landlocked, resource rich country with bad neighbours, has a few of the classic development traps. It is the least populated of the countries we visited and has large areas of undeveloped country.
Chinese presence in Lusaka was visible and 25% of Zambia exports
mainly copper go to China. The Zambian farmers were investing in their
businesses but appeared to have less confidence now than a few years ago.
As I travelled, I looked to see opportunities for investment. I expected to see more. I did see some, but I was much more cautious of the opportunity after the trip than before. To take up the opportunities you would almost have to be on site for a couple of years prior to investing. Deeply understanding the local cultures would take even longer and you would have to build relationships with people you can trust on the ground. There appeared to be a bit of discipline needed on the drafting gate to find these people.
This was a tour that had been at least two years in the making. Wayne put an inordinate amount of work into providing an interesting program, organizing transport and accommodation and making sure all the other logistics worked. It was an incredibly stimulating experience. The interactions with the group throughout the tour enriched the experiences and we had a wide range of visits and insights. This report only touches on the depth of those. It is always possible to tweak or improve something in hindsight but as a travelling and learning experience I would have no hesitation to recommending this tour or similar, to Nuffields, or like-minded people. Thanks to Wayne for all the work he did.
And to the wedding. Wayne had appeared a bit stressed throughout the
tour. We had assumed it was related to trying to keep us all safe, occupied and
out of trouble. Caroline rejoined us at Victoria falls and this stress did not
seem to disappear completely. After we had departed, he proposed to Caroline
and the next photo we see is a stress-free beaming Wayne. Our best wishes go
with Wayne and Caroline and we await invitations to the wedding to be held we
suggest at the completion of Wayne’s next tour!