Tuesday, 27 February 2024 09:55

Selling the value of lamb

Written by  Peter Burke
Guests at a BBQ to mark National Lamb Day at Parliament. Guests at a BBQ to mark National Lamb Day at Parliament.

The meat industry has a job to sell the value proposition of lamb, says Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.

Speaking to Rural News on the occasion of National Lamb Day, McClay says he doesn't necessarily believe that New Zealanders have gone off eating lamb, but says they need to be made more aware of how good NZ lamb is and that it's not hard to cook.

McClay says lamb is a high-quality product full of iron and there are plenty of places that people can go to find recipes to cook lamb - including YouTube. He says NZ has a great story to tell the world just how good our grass feed lamb is.

"Many years ago, when I lived in Brussels working for the European parliament, I'd buy a shoulder of NZ lamb and we'd invite friends over and have this for dinner. Afterwards they would rave about the flavour and they would want to know where it came from, because it was more flavoursome than the lamb they were used to - which was European," he says.

McClay says the reason is that NZ lamb is grass-fed, unlike European lamb.

The celebration of NZ lamb comes at  time when the industry is having a rough time with low returns and high input costs. He notes the oversupply of Australian lamb on the market, along with a sluggish Chinese economy and other geopolitical issues are causing grief to farmers.

McClay says while the Government can do little about the problems in market, it is determined to tackle lowering the costs imposed on farmers by the previous government.

He says his focus will also be on opening new markets, getting more FTAs and, to do that, he says, plans will be revealed soon about more trade missions which will involve farmers as well as companies and officials.

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