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New Zealand’s red meat sector exported $9.2billion worth of products during 2020, 1% more than the previous year, analysis by the Meat Industry Association shows.
Overall exports during the year reached historically high levels, 7% above 2018 exports ($8.6billion) and 21% above 2017 ($7.6billion).
"The results demonstrate that New Zealand’s red meat exports have remained stable despite the challenges of the global pandemic," association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said.
"That is great news for the New Zealand economy and for farmers. We have a diverse market portfolio and last year exported products to 111 countries ..." she said.
"This strategy, together with our strong market relationships, has been critical to helping the industry weather the volatility over the past year. It also highlights the key role our industry is playing in underpinning the New Zealand economy during the global pandemic," she said.
Global demand for safe, natural, high-quality red meat remained strong during the pandemic.
The top 10 markets for New Zealand meat were unchanged. China continued to be the major customer, with exports worth $3.3billion — 36% of total exports.
Exports to China were down from the record levels of 2019 ($3.7billion) but were still 40% higher than during 2018.
Exports to Germany and the Netherlands decreased by 8% and 21% respectively, but the value of exports to all other top markets increased, including to the US (up 20% to $1.9billion) and the UK (up 7% to $460million).