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Food And Fibre Sector Forecast To Hit Record Export Revenue Despite Challenges

New Zealand's food and fibre sector is predicted to achieve long term growth as it helps lead our COVID-19 economic recovery, Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker said.

The latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) report, released today at Fieldays 2021, forecasts growth across the sector and export revenue rising by 3.4 per cent to a record $49.1 billion for the year ending June 2022.

Export revenue is forecast to reach $53.1 billion for the year to June 2025.

This follows a small 1.1 per cent dip in total food and fibre sector exports for the year ending this June.

“The sector as a whole has performed remarkably well despite the headwinds COVID-19 has created. New Zealand’s farmers, growers, fishers, processors, makers, and crafters have risen to the challenges that 2021 has presented,” David Parker said.

“At the same time we all came to realise how interdependent we are, with truck drivers, processing staff and others in the supply chain ensuring products got to our markets.

“The Government played its part by classifying those industries, including the primary sector, as essential workers.”

The SOPI report shows that, in particular, the horticulture sector continued its upwards trajectory. Its export revenue is forecast to hit $6.6 billion, up 2.3 per cent for the year ending June 2021. The rise is driven by larger crops and export volumes of kiwifruit and avocados, as well as continued overseas demand for fresh fruit and wine.

David Parker said challenges arising from the pandemic, including food service disruptions and shipping logistics, have been felt across several sectors with the seafood sector hit harder than most.

“Demand did slow considerably during the pandemic, but export volumes and prices for products such as rock lobster are recovering well. The sector has done well to navigate the challenges of the past year.”

“This latest update also shows steady demand for dairy products, and forestry exports are bouncing back better than expected. Forestry revenue is forecast to reach $6.3 billion in 2021, an increase of 12.8 per cent, due to higher export volumes and prices,” Forestry Minister Stuart Nash said.

“Harvest and log export volumes are also set to increase 14.5 per cent and 21.4 per cent respectively. This is testament to the forestry sector’s resilience and hard work, something they should be very proud of.

“In January 2021, we also successfully signed our FTA upgrade with China, which included eliminating tariffs for 99 per cent of New Zealand’s nearly $3.3 billion wood and paper trade to China. This will have enduring benefits for our forestry sector,” Stuart Nash said.

David Parker said while the effects of COVID-19 would be seen for some time, including labour challenges, there was plenty of work under way to bridge that gap, including the Opportunity Grows Here campaign, to attract New Zealanders to food and fibre sector jobs.

The Government’s Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential Roadmap was an essential tool in driving New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19, bringing together actions, investment, and resources to ensure we rebuild better, together.

“Together we are moving forward. I have no doubt this will continue as we navigate back to normality,” David Parker said.

Read the latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries June 2021 (SOPI) report

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