Are farmers better than the New Zealand All Blacks?

We recently saw the New Zealand All Blacks crowned rugby world champions defeating the Australian Wallabies 34-17. Anyone who follows rugby will not have been surprised at the result – while the Wallabies were valiant in defeat, the All Blacks were a class above. What is perhaps a little more amazing is that the All Blacks lost just three games between winning the World Cup in 2011 and again in 2015. It got me to thinking – if ever there is a demonstration of sustainable excellence, the All Blacks must surely be it. Or are they …

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Who is afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

In the early 19th century, the Brothers’ Grimm adapted Frenchman’s Charles Perrault story of Little Red Riding Hood, a tale which we all know well.  As young children we listened wide eyed as our parents told us of the cheeky wolf who gobbled up Grandma and lay in wait for the innocent Little Red Riding Hood, only for the young girl to wise up and for the wolf to be chopped down by the good Samaritan huntsman.

Anyone who has been following the debate over the last five years surrounding foreign investment in Australian agriculture and in particular, the fervent commentary that seems to emerge when these investment dollars come from China, might be able to quickly draw parallels with our tale from the woods.

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The TPP just one leg of the stool for Asia’s food security

The signing this week of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) by the 12 nations party to it, has been met, in Australia at least, with generally positive commentary and in particular the tenacious negotiating tactics of Australia’s Trade Minister, Andrew Robb.

On paper, the TPP looks like a good deal for Australia: reducing trade barriers for Australian agricultural produce and potentially opening up new export markets.

However, will the TPP help address the far more pressing issue of helping to improve Asia’s food security and the lot of more than 400 million smallholder farmers who go to make up the region’s agricultural economy?

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