Future 3: Transformation

Future 3 builds on Future 2: More technology, adding improved sustainability and focus on high-value products and markets.

The transformational scenario is ambitious.

Increased investment in people and the environment is possible because of the sectors' focus on high-value products to high-value markets.

The concern for sustainability is based on the Māori concept of Te Taiao. It encompasses the workforce and its wellbeing, greenhouse gas reduction and improving freshwater health.

Whole sector future

Future 2 aimed for greater productivity through increased use of technology. Future 3 adds:

  • greater returns through greater value-add
  • sustainability at the heart of decision-making
  • workforce growth.

This future imagines a sector and country focussed on wellbeing, sustainability, technology and productivity. Its excellent working conditions create high-demand products for discerning consumers. Earning premiums in overseas markets for high-value products means greater wealth for businesses and the workforce.


  • Sustainability concerns could drive arable expansion further. High-efficiency arable farming that limits greenhouse gases and nutrient loss could replace other land uses. Demand for animal feed other than palm kernel expeller (PKE) may increase demand for grain.
  • Sector research and development is looking into higher-value products like oat milk and alternative proteins. Although the economics are unclear, the sector wants to find more uses for their products.
  • In this future, although there is a limit to the land area that can be cropped, the arable sector will see strong growth.


  • The dairy sector's future is uncertain under Future 3. There is already a feeling cow numbers cannot grow, nor new areas be converted to dairying.
  • The sector aims to promote New Zealand milk's unique value proposition.

Forestry and wood

  • The sector focuses on increasing capacity for more processed and new products.
  • It may also focus on using exotic and native forestry as a sustainability tool for other food and fibre sectors, and using improved environmental credentials to market products overseas.


The horticulture sector pushes its existing environmentally friendly methods and communication about them to the fullest extent.

Red meat and wool

  • Innovation improves sustainability in core production and core processing. Communicating about the improvements through digital technologies improves market position.
  • Carbon-capture is well-managed on-farm.
  • Communicating a natural, sustainable story around New Zealand meat and wool lifts economic performance through improved competition against feedlot meat, alternative proteins and synthetic fibres.
  • Money from increased sales and profitability is invested back in the sector.


  • Seafood from fishing and aquaculture uses naturalness and sustainability to increase commercial value.
  • For fishing, limited catch becomes a high-value marketing story about sensitively managed stocks. Wild catch becomes a marketing advantage against farmed fish.
  • Aquaculture finds its own story, perhaps around well-managed finfish, mussels and oyster farms in cool, clear waters.
  • Products sold to consumers are tasty and convenient, and keep up with food trends.
  • Behind the stories, wild fish stocks are sustainably managed. Aquaculture uses technology to create, monitor and maintain low-impact farms, proactively sharing environmental performance data with supply chains and customers.