Red meat exports up year on year despite COVID-19 disruptions

Exports rose 7 percent for the year ending June 2020.
Exports rose 7 percent for the year ending June 2020. Photo credit: Getty

The country's red meat exports increased by 7 percent for the year ending June 2020, the latest figures from the Meat Industry Association (MIA) show.

The sector exported $9.4 billion of sheepmeat, beef and co-products for the year, an increase of $639 million compared to the year ending June 2019.

The increase came despite COVID-19 causing massive disruptions to international supply chains in recent months.

The largest market for New Zealand red meat was China, which accounted for $3.7 billion of our exports. That was up 24 percent from the previous year ending in June.

Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of MIA, said the increased exports to China could be attributed in part to China's demand for red meat protein as a result of the impact of African Swine Fever.

Exports to the two next largest markets were down slightly, with those to the United States dropping 1 percent to $1.7 billion, and those to the UK falling by 3 percent to $453 million.

Exports to Japan rose by 15 percent, to $418 million, and were also up to Taiwan, rising 7 percent to $299 million.

Although the volume of sheepmeat exports was down slightly, by 3 percent, strong global prices saw the overall value rise by 4 percent to $4 billion.

Karapeeva said the figures were "impressive" given the global situation. 

"Despite the global volatility, there is continuing strong demand for New Zealand red meat internationally," said Karapeeva.

"The red meat sector is generating significant export revenue for the country as we face economic headwinds as a result of COVID-19. New Zealand farmers and processors and exporters deserve a lot of credit for this outstanding performance."