5 Nov 2014

Countries sign agreement on sheep

7:05 am on 5 November 2014

Sheep farming in Mexico couldn't be much more different that in New Zealand - in Mexico the animals are brought indoors at night to prevent them being poached by what farmers there describe as two-legged coyotes.

But sheep industries in New Zealand, Mexican and Australians have signed a Memorandum of Understanding they hope will deliver benefits for farmers.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand director Andy Fox said New Zealand wants better market access for sheepmeat into Mexico through a reduction in tariffs and is prepared to help its farmers with genetics and technology.

"When New Zealanders hear about MOUs with countries, they have this fear that this country will end up developing such a large industry that they'll start competing with New Zealand," he said.

"But probably the competitor for sheepmeat in North America is not other sheepmeat producers but producers of other proteins, so we're talking about cheaper production in the form of chicken and pork.

"Rather than being a competitor, we see them as being complimentary. And if we do these little things like helping with shearing techniques, some of our genetics are over in America now and so we can improve some of their genetics - easier care - it will help both industries."

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