OPINION: There’s some agitation out there at the moment about farming being under threat from forestry. Much of what’s circulating is based on misinformation so it’s time to lay out the facts.
Minister of Agriculture and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor, today released the latest Situation and Outlook report for the Primary Industries, revealing figures for year ending June 30, 2019.
“This latest report shows some absolutely outstanding, record-breaking results,” he says.
Total dairy export revenue is up 8.7% to $18.1 billion.
“That’s a $1.47 billion increase, which is just staggering, and the sector appears to be set up for another favourable production season,” says O’Connor.
For the year ending June 2020 horticulture revenue is forecast to rise 3.8%, seafood exports is expected to rise 5.5%, meat and wool prices remain near record highs with strong international demand and prices for red meat products are expected to remain at near-record highs for the near future.
“Our nation’s farmers and growers produce some of the highest quality food in the world – and the world knows it. They are bringing home record export returns and that’s something for them to be really proud of. I’m certainly very proud of them,” says O’Connor.
“The Government is committed to supporting and partnering with the primary industry – we’re halfway through our term and the industry is hitting its stride because we’re working together to extract value.
“We’re a trading nation and the Government has an ambitious trade agenda. We’re working hard on opening up the world’s largest economies to our primary exports.”
O’Connor says last week he was in Thailand attending a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter the final stages.
When concluded, the RCEP Agreement will anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement which covers 16 countries, almost half the world’s populationand markets that take more than half our total exports. It will also provide us a free trade relationship with India, a fast-growing economy with a GDP of more than $2.6 trillion in 2018.
“Trade negotiations with the EU and updating our FTA with China are also priorities,” he says.
“Outside of our trade agreements, the Government is also working with NZ exporters to help resolve specific barriers to trade that they might face in overseas markets.
“While export revenue for the season that’s just started is forecast to drop by about half a percent, prices are expected to stay high for most products
“To our farmers and growers I say – you are the backbone of our economy are you’re at the heart of our rural communities. This Government appreciates you and we’re behind you. These results are down to your hard work – congratulations”.