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Tuesday, 15 December 2020 13:55

Primary prospects bright after tough year - O'Connor

Written by  Staff Reporters
Agriculture minister Damien O'Connor says that prospects for the primary sector are bright despite the challenges of the pandemic. Agriculture minister Damien O'Connor says that prospects for the primary sector are bright despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Economic prospects for the primary sector are bright despite the significant challenges from Covid-19, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

The latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) report forecasts food and fibre export revenue of more than $47.5 billion for the year ending June 2021, and a record $49.2 billion the following year.

“This strong performance is testament to the sector’s ability to adapt to keep businesses operating and workers in jobs,” O’Connor says.

“Producers are working to keep staff and communities safe from Covid and provide the food and fibre products needed at home and abroad. Our primary sector can be proud of the way it has responded as part of our broader community,” he said.

He adds that the ‘star performers’ for 2020 were the horticulture sector.

O’Connor says the sector’s export revenue is set to hit close to $7.1 billion, an increase of 8.9% from the previous year.

“It’s driven by successful harvests in early 2020 and continued strong demand for our fresh fruit and wine.”

He says that increases in export revenue are also expected for the arable sector for the year ending June 2021, on the back of a 23% increase from 2019.

O’Connor says export revenue for some sectors are forecast to drop for the year to June 2021 but are expected to bounce back even stronger for the year ending June 2022.

“Dairy export revenue is forecasted to decrease 4.6% to $19.2 billion for the year to June 2021, driven by weaker global dairy prices, as markets continue to deal with the impacts from Covid-19,” he said.

He says this should be offset by high demand for dairy products, particularly from China, to support strong sector profitability over the medium-term, with export revenue expected to reach $20.1 billion in the year ending June 2022.

O’Connor adds that meat and wool export revenue is expected to decrease 8% to $9.8 billion for the year ending June 2021.

He says this would mostly be due to food service closures from Covid-19, and competition from poultry and other lower priced proteins.

He adds that it’s expected to rebound to almost $10.1 billion the following year.

O’Connor says that while the impacts from Covid-19 will be seen for some time, New Zealand is well placed to recover.

“The government is committed to continuing its work with the food and fibres sector to tackle challenges brought about by Covid-19 and seize opportunities to help drive New Zealand’s economy.”

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