Food, fibre export performance lauded

New Zealand's food and fibre sector has performed ‘‘remarkably well’’ over the past year, posting a forecast fall of just 1.1% in export revenue for the year ending June, the latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries shows.

For the year ending June 2022, revenue was forecast to rebound and reach $49.1billion as demand began to recover for the country’s main export products and destination markets. It was forecast to reach $53.1billion for the year to June 2025.

In a statement, Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker said the sector had performed ‘‘remarkably well’’, despite the headwinds Covid-19 had created.

Challenges arising from the pandemic, including food service disruptions and shipping logistics, had been felt across several sectors and seafood had been hit harder than most.

‘‘Demand did slow considerably during the pandemic but export volumes and prices for products such as rock lobster are recovering well. The sector has done well to navigate the challenges of the past year,’’ Mr Parker said.

Dairy export revenue was forecast to drop 5.4% to $19billion in the year ending June 2021, due to Covid-19 related disruptions and an appreciation of the New Zealand dollar. In the first half of the year, dairy revenue was down substantially due to global supply chain and market disruptions, and low prices for key commodities. Global dairy prices lifted significantly in the second half of the year. Milk production for the 2020-21 season was forecast to increase 1.9%, supported by favourable weather conditions and a strong farm-gate milk price.

Meat and wool export revenue was forecast to fall 2.8% to $10.4billion. Beef, mutton, lamb and venison export volumes were all forecast to increase this year.

Prices had been affected by Covid-19-related food service closures, freight issues and a stronger New Zealand dollar, but African swine fever impacts in China continued to drive underlying demand.

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