Primary exports from South up by 5%-10%

The Southern primary sector has picked up during the past year; pictured, City Forest logs being...
The Southern primary sector has picked up during the past year; pictured, City Forest logs being loaded on Bunun Dynasty at Port Chalmers last year. Photos: Stephen Jaquiery
Southern export documentation from the primary sector has risen by 5%-10% during the past year.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said documentation for products such as deer velvet, red meat, wine, milk powder, logs and wood products were all generally up 0.5%-1% each; cumulatively about 5%-10% on a year ago.

"Year-on-year documentation is up significantly. At the peak of the season we’re writing 600-800 export documents a week," Mr McGowan said.

Dougal McGowan
Dougal McGowan
"Exporters really don’t want to see their goods hanging around on the wharf," he said of documentation turnover.

The Chamber of Commerce network across the country is one of three providers signing off export documentation nationally, confirming data, including origin and authenticity.

"There’s been a good outflow from Port Otago ... we’re starting to see good numbers of export receipts," he said.

He said southern lamb weights and subsequent prices had held up well for farmers, even with the tide turning against them with  New Zealand dollar having started appreciating in recent weeks.

Mr McGowan was concerned about the effects on farmers from the heavy rain and floods in some areas last week, but had heard of no major stock losses.

While "pre-Christmas exports" for the farmers looked strong, Mr McGowan was concerned about Brexit.

He said April exports for Easter in the northern hemisphere were important for New Zealand farmers.

Mr McGowan said a growing market in the South was the export of chilled meat to China, which began in mid-2018.

"It’s certainly a growth area, but by far the majority of exports are still frozen," he said.

It was announced in April last year that New Zealand and China had agreed to protocols relating to chilled meat — lauded for its potential to  boost red meat exports by hundreds of millions of dollars.

New Zealand’s first consignments of chilled meat to China were flown to Shanghai in July as part of a six-month trial.

At the time, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the air-freighted consignments from Alliance Group and Greenlea Premier Meats marked a "significant step" towards enabling permanent access for New Zealand chilled meat into the China market.

Alliance Group sent French lamb racks which had been processed at its Pukeuri plant.

Industry leaders predicted the market could add up to 64% in value to those exports to China, which were already worth nearly $1.6 billion in 2015.

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