Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
WITH NEW ZEALAND being a powerhouse in the marketing of dairy products world-wide, Murray McCully, the foreign affairs and sports minister of the south Pacific country says there are opportunities for players in Jamaica to become part of that huge supply chain.
"We produce 2.5 per cent of the world's dairy product, yet we market well over one-third of the world's dairy products because we are involved in partnerships in many countries now producing for markets we are in.
"We are in the supply chain but the production is increasingly done offshore," McCully told The Sunday Gleaner last week.
The minister, who visited Jamaica for bilateral talks with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, said that as part of New Zealand's international expansion of its agriculture, "there are partnerships that we can embark on."
He said the partnerships "will no doubt be worked out between our private-sector players" while adding that the role of the Government is limited to creating an enabling environment to foster collaboration.
McCully said collaboration between private-sector entities is important to economic growth.
He said his country, for example, is coming to terms with the fact that it is a global agriculture player.
"New Zealand has been very fortunate as for many decades we struggled from being the offshore farm for Great Britain. We worried about how we could be competitive in a market that was half-way around the world. Today, the booming economies of Asia are on our doorsteps," said McCully.
He added that his country has a free-trade agreement with China as well as countries in south east Asia Vietnam, Singapore and Mali.
Information published on a New Zealand government website says the country's dairy sector started with the importation of two cows and a bull in 1814.
Developing countries such as Jamaica are the destination for about 72 per cent of New Zealand's dairy export.
McCully has met with Prime Minister Simpson Miller and members of the opposition as well as the private sector.
Of his meeting with the Prime Minister, McCully said "she is very receptive to the idea that we might have a closer relationship between both governments on the priority issues."
"I know she has given priority to agriculture and I know there has been significant focus on energy issues and other climate-change issues and so bilateral engagement and co-operation is something she responded to favourably," McCully said.
ARGUING THAT there is a need to ensure smaller countries are not locked out in international decision-making, New Zealand's Foreign Affairs and Sports Minister Murray McCully is seeking to rally the support of CARICOM to back its bid for a seat on the United Nation's Security Council.
McCully said at the heart of New Zealand's campaign is the message that smaller countries are increasingly being squeezed out of the opportunity to serve.
"We hope that is something that countries weigh up," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
But McCully, who was in the island last week before hopping to Cuba, said his visit to Jamaica was built around discussing bilateral arrangements.
Negotiating bloc at UN
McCully is seeking to bring together pacific countries and CARICOM nations as a negotiating bloc at the UN.
He noted that both regions struggle with issues of climate change, development of agriculture and high energy cost.
"The idea of region-to-region co-operation is something that is much bigger than simply helping our security council campaign," McCully said.
He argued that the Group of 20 (G-20) nations is a power group which uses its muscles to crowd out smaller countries.
"I have no problem with the G20, I think it has been a huge force for good in terms of dealing with the economic challenges the world confront.
"But we need to understand that every time we create a big boys club you actually leave the little guys more marginalised, so I think that particularly in the UN, which is the body where the little guys should be treated like equal, that we don't have them marginalised by the operations of the security council," said McCully.
New Zealand is seeking a seat on the security council for 2015/16.