There are many lessons New Zealand as a whole and its agricultural sector in particular can take away from the COVID-19 crisis. Like many other countries, it has had some very strong reminders this year of health, hygiene and food safety. The result is a greater focus on being healthy. There are several potential ways New Zealand can benefit from this heightened focus.
Fruit prices have been very resilient this year. Kiwifruit is doing well coming out the other side of global lockdowns, with Zespri leveraging the fruit's Vitamin C content and using savvy marketing techniques in key markets.
New Zealand already has a good reputation for food safety, which is another angle to continue pushing as a selling point. That reputation could be burnished if New Zealand can ensure that it remains COVID-free.
Another lesson has been the value of flexibility in export markets. A key market like China, which was disrupted earliest, is one that is always going to be hard to wean off. And if it is delivering the highest prices, then there is a genuine foregone opportunity from diversifying. But maintaining contacts or some market presence in other countries can help in times of crisis when key markets get impacted. Our exports have held up well this year, in part because of agility to switch markets.