5 May 2009

Farmers' incomes may be improving

7:48 pm on 5 May 2009

There are further signs a slump in farmers' incomes may be turning around after the prices they receive overseas posted the biggest increase in nearly two years.

The ANZ's world commodity price index rose 2.5% last month. This follows a 1% rise in March.

The increase in commodity prices in March and April follow seven consecutive months of falls.

Lamb was the strongest performer, while prices on world markets for dairy, beef, and wool also posted rises.

Prices on world markets fell by more than 50% in the past 18 months due to over-production and the economic crisis.

ANZ economists say price rises in the past two months suggest the slump in prices may be at an end.

They also say the high value of the New Zealand dollar is eating up many of these gains.

Meanwhile, the dairy industry has released a strategy aimed at increasing the profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of dairy farmers.

The 10-year strategy is being launched by the Prime Minister at Parliament on Tuesday night.

The industry body, Dairy NZ, says the focus is on attracting skilled people to the sector, ensuring an internationally competitive milk supply, enhancing the industry's reputation and forming a partnership between the industry, government and the community to achieve common goals.