The value of New Zealand's primary sector exports is set to grow by $505 million to a new record high over the coming year, according to new report.
The Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI's) latest Situation and Outlook report forecasts a 3.8 percent increase for primary sector export earnings for the year ending June 2019, to $44.3 billion.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the report is encouraging.
"There's a lot to be positive about when strong consumer demand for high-value produce and good growing conditions have, in just the past three months, nudged up forecasts by an extra half a billion dollars," he said.
He said the report shows primary sector exports will continue to be a strong contributor to the New Zealand economy, which is forecast to grow at about 3 percent a year over the next few years.
"In particular for dairy farmers, good weather means plenty of grass and greater milk production at a time of growth in value-added products," said Mr O'Connor.
"This is set to be the fourth year in a row dairy export returns have risen, following the dairy downturn of 2015 - and this is why it's vital we add value to every litre of milk produced in New Zealand."
Mr O'Connor said horticulturists are benefiting from strong consumer demand for sought-after produce, and foresters have had a strong first quarter for log and sawn timber exports.
However he said the primary sector does need to be cautious about the global trade situation, with the outlook report noting increased risk beyond 2019 .
"The report results are promising, but there are uncertainties in the global marketplace such as the trade dispute between the US and China and Brexit, which means instability across commodity prices, exchange rates and equities."
"For future growth, we need to get more value for what we produce now, and we are focused on helping our primary sector to achieve this sustainable, value-added growth that ultimately benefits all New Zealanders."
The full outlook can be found here.