New Zealand's deer industry intends working with Korean deer
farmers to increase demand for New Zealand velvet in South
Korea, its largest market.
While the Korean Deer Breeders Association used to be opposed
to velvet imports, it now accepted there were benefits for
farmers in both countries from working together, Deer
Industry New Zealand (DINZ) chief executive Dan Coup said.
Velvet supply from Korean deer farms had always been
insufficient to meet demand from the traditional Oriental
medicine market and health foods industry. That shortfall
became more acute when herds were badly affected by
foot-and-mouth disease four years ago, Mr Coup said.
There was growing demand among affluent consumers in South
Korea for health foods and tonics based on traditional
ingredients like velvet and ginseng.
DINZ estimated 20% of New Zealand's velvet production went
into health foods and tonics in South Korea -a market segment
nearly non-existent 10 years ago.
The retail value of those products was now more than $US100
million ($NZ115.8 million) a year.
That demand was one factor in the gradual increase in New
Zealand farmgate prices for velvet from an average of $NZ60 a
kg six years ago to nearly $NZ100 a kg in the season just
ended, he said.
Other important factors include declining velvet production
in Asia and North America, and increasing wealth in China.
DINZ and exporters were mindful of the free trade
negotiations now under way between New Zealand and South
Korea, Mr Coup said.
''South Korean government charges, in particular a 20% import
tariff and excise duty of around 9%, are costing NZ farmers
and Korean consumers dearly.
''Oriental medicine doctors and health-food companies in
South Korea share our view on this. It's in all our interests
to create a tariff-free pathway from the NZ producer to the
Korean consumer,'' he said.