China's Covid lockdowns are impacting on New Zealand agriculture, according to Rabobank.
Currently, under Alert Level Four, independent butchers are only allowed to operate contactless deliveries – a position Retail Meat New Zealand (RMNZ) says is unviable for many operators.
Compounding the issue is that supermarkets are under increasing pressure, not just from a record concentration of customers, but for several supermarkets, they are a location of interest forcing their staff members into self isolation.
Kit Arkwright, spokesperson from RMNZ – the membership body for New Zealand butchers – says he is imploring the government to change their stance as soon as possible to give retailers a chance of survival.
“The reality for many of our members is an extended lockdown could sign the death sentence for their businesses,” Arkwright says.
He says the losses many butchers suffered during the 2020 lockdown combined with the current lockdown could see an eventuality where many butchers are unable to reopen.
“The Government has to consider the long term impacts this will have on food security, particularly for rural and regional communities that rely on their local butcher to keep them fed.”
Arkwright says that while RMNZ acknowledges that the whole country is feeling the impacts of this latest lockdown, but its members know they can do their part to keep Kiwis fed.