Primary industry exports forecast to be up $4.5bn this year

The primary industries are forecast to inject more than 42 billion export dollars into New Zealand’s economy this year, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said today when the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Situation and Outlook report for June 2018 was launched at the 50th Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

This was $4.5 billion more than last year, a good sign that the primary sectors as a whole are in good nick, despite some tough times, the Minister said.

“It’s also testament to the importance of the primary sectors – not only are they the engine of New Zealand’s economy, they bring jobs and security for tens of thousands of people, and support rural communities up and down the country.”

The successful year had been led by value growth in the three largest sectors, dairy, meat and forestry, all of which have posted double-digit growth over the year.

The report also highlights the importance of moving up the value chain with infant formula exports expected to reach $1.2 billion, up 53 per cent on the previous year.

The Minister said this growth had been all the more impressive when the many challenges that agribusinesses had faced over the year were considered. These included the fight against Mycoplasma bovis, which has highlighted the urgent need to strengthen our biosecurity systems.

The weather had also been a challenge – a wet spring, followed by drought conditions in the summer, broken by two significant cyclones in February.

“There is plenty of opportunity for New Zealand exports to continue to grow, but to do so we need to get closer to our consumers and work smarter, not harder,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The Government is committed to productivity growth for a future-proofed primary sector and that means we want to get more from what we do now, not just do more.

“The vision, energy and innovation that has always characterised our primary industries will hold us in good stead as we rise to this challenge.”

The recently established Primary Sector Council – developing a sector-wide vision – had a significant role to play in driving more sustainability in farming practice, Mr O’Connor said.

Source: Minister of Agriculture

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