6 August 2020    

New Zealand’s red meat sector exported $9.4 billion of sheepmeat, beef and co-products for the year ending June 2020, according to the latest analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector saw an increase of $639 million – or seven per cent – compared to the year ending June 2019.

China remained the largest market for the year ending June 2020, accounting for $3.7 billion of New Zealand’s red meat exports. This was an increase of 24 per cent on the previous June year – and was partly driven by China’s demand for red meat protein as a result of the impact of African Swine Fever.

Exports to the next two largest markets, the United States and the UK, remained buoyant, at $1.7 billion (down one percent)  and $453 million (down three per cent) respectively. Exports to Japan rose by 15 per cent, to $418 million, and Taiwan was up seven per cent to $299 million.

The volume of sheepmeat exports fell slightly for the year, by three per cent, to 386,250 tonnes but strong global meat prices saw the overall value of these increase by four per cent to $4 billion.

Beef export volumes increased by two per cent for the year, to 460,170 tonnes and the value of these overall increased by 15 per cent, to $3.8 billion.

Co-products also continued to be an important source of revenue for the industry, with exports worth $1.6 billion, largely unchanged from the previous year.

For the month of June 2020, China was the largest market for New Zealand red meat although sales dipped by 13 per cent on the same period last year. However, exports increased by 54 per cent to the US and 46 per cent to the UK, compared to June 2019, and overall exports were up seven per cent

MIA Chief Executive Sirma Karapeeva said the export results were impressive, particularly given the challenging global markets.

“Despite the global volatility, there is continuing strong demand for New Zealand red meat internationally.

“One of the strengths of the meat processing and exporting industry is our product diversification strategy. Companies are benefiting from close relationships with their customers and are working hard to match product to customer needs, capturing greater market value and delivering the returns to farmers.

“The red meat sector is generating significant export revenue for the country as we face economic headwinds as a result of COVID-19. New Zealand farmers and processors and exporters deserve a lot of credit for this outstanding performance.

“The red meat processing and exporting sector is New Zealand’s second largest goods exporter and largest manufacturing employer. We play a vital role in the economy and the industry’s continued success will be critically important to our country’s long-term recovery from the impacts of the global pandemic.”