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4.9 billion reasons why our primary industries rock

An expected $4.9 billion surge in New Zealand's primary exports confirms why CNBC labelled New Zealand a 'rock star' economy. The announcement came at the Riddet Institute's Agri-Food Summit.

"It is significant that Riddet Institute's co-director, Professor Paul Moughan, said New Zealand has great farmers, great processor/marketers and great scientists," says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers president.

"Professor Moughan said we stand on the cusp of a revolution and we agree. We now feed an estimated 40 million people around the world and the world is crying out for our primary exports.

"Increasing global prosperity is arguably behind the Ministry for Primary Industries now forecasting an expected $4.9 billion uplift in our primary exports. It is now expected primary exports for 2013/14 will be worth $36.4 billion.

"This $4.9 billion surge is being led by the pastoral sector with dairy up $2.7 billion but meat and fibre exports are estimated to be up $1.2 billion. This will be welcome news to New Zealand's number two merchandise export.

"New Zealand is on track to double primary exports by 2025 to $64 billion so long as we stick to a sensible and sustainable mix of policies.

"Between now and 2025, $18 billion of this future growth is expected to come from water storage, irrigation and aquaculture. New Zealand does not lack water as in Australia just the means to store it in times of plenty, to use it in times of shortage.

"Of that $18bn uplift, a fair proportion is expected to come from free trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership. Having heard from the Director of India's National Dairy Research Institute, Professor Srivastava, I would hope one with India too.

"This story of better export performance benefits every New Zealander. You could say everyone is a farmer as it’s only a matter of degree. It also underscores the need for the science/research investment.

"Lifting every farmer into the top quartile of performance will be worth $3 billion by 2025 while bringing Maori land into full production is estimated to be worth $8 billion generating 3,500 new jobs.

"Hearing the MPI's latest forecast and presentations at the Riddet Institute's Agri-Food Summit I firmly believe we can double primary exports by 2025. If we can win trade access we may actually exceed it," Mr Wills concluded.

ENDS

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