1 Dec 2022

Dairy, horticulture tipped to drive record rise in primary exports

2:18 pm on 1 December 2022
Various fresh dairy products on wooden background

Dairy export revenue is expected to grow six percent to $23.3b driven by strong global prices and a weakening New Zealand dollar. Photo: 123RF

Food and fibre exports are predicted to reach a record $55 billion dollars in the year to next June.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has just released its Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report which looked at how different parts of the sector are tracking - and it was good news for all.

Dairy export revenue is expected to grow six percent to $23.3 billion driven by strong global prices and a weakening New Zealand dollar.

Red meat and wool exports are forecast to remain steady at $12.4 billion and horticulture is forecast to grow five percent to just over $7 billion thanks to high yields from this year's grape harvest and rising prices for avocado, onion and wine export prices.

The arable sector has also seen a lift in profits with a forecast that it will bring in a five per cent increase of $265m.

Seafood exports are continuing to recover after Covid-19 lockdowns around the world squashed demand.

Exports are forecast to grow four percent to $2b.

"The food and fibre sector accounted for 81.4 percent of New Zealand's merchandise exports in the year to 30 June 2022. Primary industry export growth has exceeded that of non-primary industries for eight of the past 10 years," the report said.

Minister for Agriculture, Export and Trade Growth Damien O'Connor said the projected record revenue has helped protect New Zealanders from the sharp edges of the global downturn.

"Despite the global economic storm gathering, the latest SOPI results show our food and fibre export revenue continuing to climb.

"There is some comfort knowing demand for food and fibre should remain strong throughout any global economic downturn, so New Zealand's economy remains better positioned when compared to others, so long as we maintain our international competitive edge."

O'Connor said the forecast increase of 4 percent in the year to 30 June 2023 is on top of our record export revenue achieved last year, and $2.9b higher than earlier forecasts made in June 2022.

Forestry Minister Stuart Nash said forestry export revenue was expected to increase this year, despite the tough global economic environment.

"Forestry export revenue is set to increase to $6.6 billion in the year to 30 June 2023," Nash said.

"This result is to be commended and the forestry sector should be acknowledged, especially over a tough year and in the face of a global slowdown in construction and corresponding lower demand for our logs. It shows remarkable resilience."

He said the government's announcement yesterday that what was counted as sequestration - accounting for greenhouse gas absorption by plants - would be counted for farm-level emissions pricing was a clarification not a U-turn.

Originally the government had excluded it causing an adverse reaction from farmers.

Labour MP Damien O'Connor

Damien O'Connor is denying the government has backed down. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Scientific research was needed to ensure what was included across the farm system was credible and internationally recognisable, O'Connor said.

The government had committed over $300 million to this work, he said, with $172m going into a joint venture while the rest of the funds would be used for research.

There was satellite technology available now that could count trees accurately.

The methane targets would be reviewed in 2024, with a 10 percent reduction goal by 2030 although four of the bigger companies have set higher targets .

"This is something that we can again lead the world in and be very proud of."

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