Challenges Persist for New Zealand’s Red Meat Industry

Challenges Persist for New Zealand's Red Meat Industry
Challenges Persist for New Zealand's Red Meat Industry

Challenges Persist for New Zealand’s Red Meat Industry

The red meat sector in New Zealand faces headwinds, with global dynamics playing a significant role. August saw red meat exports from NZ amounting to $730 million, marking a 16% decline from the previous year.

Notably, exports to China bore the brunt, plummeting by 44% to $213 million. In stark contrast, shipments to the US surged by 26% to $188 million, while those to Canada experienced an impressive 136% rise, reaching $40 million.

Sirma Karapeeva, the Chief Executive of the Meat Industry Association (MIA), underlines that the drop in overall exports is, in part, due to an extraordinary performance in August the prior year. However, she also points to intensified competition in China.

Karapeeva states,

“Meat competition has increased significantly in China and there are now 42 countries exporting meat to the country – 30 for beef alone. The volume of Brazilian and other South American beef on the China market is significant and it is driving down the price overall. Likewise, Australian producers are exporting significant volumes of mutton to China at a low price. Conservative consumer spending is also driving down pricing.”

Comparing figures to the same period the preceding year, there was a 6% rise in overall sheepmeat exports to 25,162 tonnes, but the value dropped by 13% to $236 million. This dip in value is primarily attributed to reduced exports’ worth to China, down by 25% to $73 million compared to August 2022.

Karapeeva observes,

“Sheepmeat exports to our other two major markets, the US and UK, increased compared to last August. The US is up 22% to $41m and the UK up 20% to $19m.”

Despite relatively modest beef exports to the UK, New Zealand continues to gain from the new beef quota outlined in the UK Free Trade Agreement. This offers a ray of hope in an otherwise challenging landscape for the red meat sector.


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