Revealed: New forecast shows 'positive outlook' for NZ's primary industries

A new report is forecasting a bright future for New Zealand's primary industry exports.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released its Situation and Outlook report for September 2018. 

It has revenue forecast to reach $43.8 billion for the year to June 2019 - an increase of 2.5 percent from 2018.

"The latest update gives an encouraging assessment of our major primary sectors, which continue to grow - up $1.1 billion from the previous year," said Emma Taylor, Director of Agriculture, Marine & Plant Policy.

"It's a promising outlook and builds on the strong growth seen in 2018, when export revenue increased 11.8 percent," she said.

In 2018, dairy prices recovered from the lows of 2015 and 2016, high red meat prices boosted meat and wool revenue, and strong demand for logs in China led to record export prices and volume.

The report says horticulture and dairy are the driving forces behind the increase forecast for 2019.

Horticulture exports are forecast to rise 13.1 percent to $6.1 billion for the year ending June 2019. 

"Improved growing conditions for the most recent harvest has led to higher yields for kiwifruit, and most other horticultural products," she said.

Dairy exports are forecast to rise 2.1 percent to $17.0 billion for the year ending June 2019, consolidating gains made in the last two years. 

"With farm production growth likely to be relatively flat in coming years, revenue growth is expected to be driven by moves towards higher value products such as cheese and infant formula," said Ms Taylor.

Forestry exports are expected to remain stable at $6.4 billion for 2019. Log prices are expected to remain near record levels as Chinese construction activity is forecast to remain strong.

After an impressive gain in meat and wool exports in 2018, exports are forecast to decrease by 1.3 percent to $9.4 billion in 2019. Despite forecast increases in farm gate prices for lamb and venison, decreasing production volumes are forecast to lead to lower export revenue overall.

"Overall, the latest outlook for our primary industries gives plenty of positives as we work to sustainably reposition primary industries up the value chain and deepen sector partnerships," said Ms Taylor.

Read the full report here.