Thursday, 06 May 2021 09:55

Primary sector exports defy challenges

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Despite challenges such as labour shortages and logistics around shipping, primary sector exports are holding up. Despite challenges such as labour shortages and logistics around shipping, primary sector exports are holding up.

Primary sector exporters, take a bow.

Despite major challenges, New Zealand primary sector exports are holding up well. And it's not just dairy products leaving our ports in droves - beef, apples, kiwifruit, wine and sheepmeat are also being shipped out.

According to BNZ's latest Rural Wrap, NZ primary sector exports have been impressively resilient to the massive global economic shock over the past 12 months.

BNZ senior economist Doug Steel points out that exporters have been facing considerable challenges - many of which are ongoing.

"Difficulty finding labour and logistical issues immediately spring to mind. No on has been immune," he says.

"But the sector, by and large, has found ways to minimise disruption, switch markets, and alter sales channels to continue trading as best as possible."

While export revenue does not necessarily equate to profitability, but it can be a useful barometer, noted Steel.

Wine exports to February 2021 were 4% higher than a year earlier, entirely driven by volume expansion, with prices marginally lower over the period. Annual wine exports are now valued at $2 billion.

Steel says the past year's growth - in obviously difficult circumstances from harvesting through to logistics - continues a period of persistent expansion that now extends back more than quarter of a century.

Sheepmeat exports topped $3.8 billion. This is a historically high level, although 3% lower than in the previous year.

Steel says prior price declines, a firmer NZ dollar and a smaller lamb crop this season will likely see annual exports ease further in the near term.

"Demand from China has been strong of late which we expect to continue."

Around half of NZ exports are now destined for China.

Kiwifruit continues to go from strength to strength, with exports nearing $2.7 billion in the year to February 2021, a hefty 18% higher than a year earlier.

Steel says buoyant growth is the result of overall record volumes in combination with higher prices, both underpinned by strong demand.

Beef exports eased back 2% in the year to February 2021, but Steel says this should be seen in the context of the 34% cumulative increase in the three years prior to that. NZ's beef export share to China has eased from a recent African Swine Fever-induced peak but remains high by historical standards.

Apple exports pushed above $900 million, up nearly 6% on a year earlier.

Steel says the increase reflected a moderate increase in volumes, following a good harvest and a push higher in average prices.

However, things are looking dire for apple growers this season: poor weather and labour shortages could drop export volumes by 14%.

More like this

Dairy, beef, and lamb exports rise

The monthly value of goods exports in October 2021 rose $552 million (12%) from October 2020, to $5.3 billion, according to Statistics NZ.

Red meat exports exceed $1 billion

New Zealand exported red meat and co-products worth just over $1 billion during March 2021, according to the latest analysis from the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

National

Government funds RA research

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the Government will fund two new research projects to investigate the impacts of regenerative farming…

Luxton leaves a legacy

Former Agriculture Minister and DairyNZ chair John Luxton leaves behind a legacy and lifetime of achievement in the agriculture sector…

Machinery & Products

Vaderstad's new drill is Inspire(d)

Tillage, seeding and planting specialists Vaderstad has introduced its new Inspire product range – focused on the 12-metre seed drill…

JD's new 6Rs for 2022

With the upcoming market year 2022 (MY22) only a few weeks away, John Deere has released details of changes to…

New features on Case IH Optum

The latest Case IH Optum AFS Connect range features a new cab, interior and connectivity package designed to benefit both…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Fond farewell

OPINION: Your canine crusader would like to pay tribute and a fond farewell to former Agriculture Minister and Dairy NZ…

Front page!

OPINION: This old mutt reckons (un) social media is just an echo chamber of self-important, self-professed experts who lecture and…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter