Good value in changing times.

If you look very hard for the Pandemic’s silver linings, you’ll find a few.  

There’s a growing appreciation for the rural sector. According to UMR data from last year, support for dairy and sheep and beef farmers has risen 9%. The reason cited was the heavy government spending on the Covid-19 relief package, leaving a public asking, “How’re we going to pay for all this?”  

Also cutting through the gloom are the countless innovations taking place as the effort to adjust continues. And like many organisations cornered by the pandemic’s refusal to negotiate, the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust has had to adapt on the move. One example was when Nuffield Scholars were affected by the close of international travel. An innovation in the form of a New Zealand based experience emerged.  

The Global Tour of New Zealand.

The ‘Global Tour of New Zealand’, as it was quickly named by last years’ Nuffield Scholars, gave a unique view of the country’s food and fibre sector value chains. This year, the programme has been made richer still. The Value Chain Innovation Programme will begin in January 2022 and  
is now open to a larger number of people in the primary sector. 

One of the programme’s two facilitators, Sir Graeme Harrison Professorial Chair of Global Value Chains and Trade Hamish Gow says, “The Value Chain Innovation Programme provides the opportunity to lift the lid on some of New Zealand’s leading value chains, exploring their working components and analysing how they create value.”  

Building the value.

Much work has gone into building a cache of exciting and varied case studies across dairy, arable and horticulture value chains to name a few. Participants learn straight from the source. They gain unique insights into food and fibre innovation, in both domestic and international markets.

Businesses don’t always get the opportunity to explore innovation across other industries. The new programme gives a wide view of established and novel value chains. Participants compare and transpose thinking at a time when the primary industries are going through the biggest period of transformational change since the 1980’s.  

If you’re in food and fibre, now is the time to be gaining a pan-sector view of as many successful business models as possible,” says Prof. Gow. “Increasingly the most successful value chains are those with business models that are closely aligned to their customers, use protected IP, and provide innovative shared value structures.” 

The programme runs over five weeks, two of these are spent on the road. The remaining time is spent on an individual research report. “It will be a busy few weeks, with the time commitment being 100 hours on field trips, guest lectures and networking, online lectures and discussions, tutorials, and another 50 hours self-directed learning,” said Prof. Gow. 

The programme delivery team.

New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust CEO Chris Parsons remarked, “As a global leader and thinker in value chain design, innovation and entrepreneurship, Professor Gow is uniquely qualified to impart deeper strategic learning and insight into 2022’s programme.”  

The depth on the team is bolstered further with Leadership and Strategic Development Consultant, Phil Morrison, ONZM. “We are also fortunate to have Phil onboard. He brings a different leadership perspective, drawing on a career in military command, and in the delivery of innovation, strategic and leadership training as a consultant. We couldn’t hope for a stronger team.”  

Once completed, the programme will give participants the competencies, confidence, and networks to influence change and lead transformation at an enterprise level and throughout regional New Zealand.  

Chris Parsons says, “We hope this programme will lead to positive larger scale change as our graduates continue to grow and contribute to a fast-changing food and fibre sector.”

Rural Leaders are taking applications until 28 November 2021, with a scheduled start date of 16 January 2022.  

Applications can be made at

Our programmes work in partnership with some of New Zealand’s leading agribusiness organisations – click here for more.​