Tuesday, 16 June 2020 09:54

Primary industries drive COVID-19 recovery 

Written by  Staff Reporters
Ag Minister Damien O’Connor. Ag Minister Damien O’Connor.

Following a new economic report, Ag Minister Damien O’Connor is celebrating primary industries’ role in the COVID-19 recovery.

His reaction follows a new report by the Ministry for Primary Industries, revealing that primary sector exports are on track to grow by $1.7 billion (4.5%) on last year.

The report Economic Update for the Primary Industries was released today in in lieu of the June 2020 edition of the Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI).

“Overseas consumers are now more than ever looking for healthy, New Zealand-made food. We’ve seen that with the sustained demand for fresh fruit, particularly in Europe and North America and the strong demand for red meat in China,” says O’Connor.

“Our farmers and growers are in a strong position to help us reboot our economy. Along with the sector, the Government is focused on creating more demand, pursuing greater market opportunities to generate higher export returns and growing rural communities with new jobs.

The report reveals that dairy exports were particularly strong since the start of March, up $512 million (12%) compared to the same time last year.

The report also reveals that Chinese meat imports surged in the second half of 2019. The animal protein shortage, due to the African swine fever outbreak in China, is expected to help support prices and demand over the next year.

There was a strong start to the season for apple and kiwifruit exporters with revenue up $274 million (18%) on last year since the start of March.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones says that during the level 4 COVID-19 restrictions, forestry and wood processing was not considered an essential service, so the decrease in outputs was in line with what was expected.

“This has been an incredibly challenging time for the sector and there is still considerable volatility in the log export sector, which the Government is closely monitoring. However, I am confident forestry and wood processing figures will improve over the coming months and that this multibillion-dollar sector will play a significant role in the economic recovery”.  

The full report is available here.

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