With Covid-19 effectively cancelling the annual meeting of the Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA), this year’s event was conducted by teleconferencing.
NZ’s meat exports reached $921 million: with the value largely unchanged from a year earlier.
However, the impact of COVID-19 saw the value of exports to China drop by 45% to $175 million compared to February 2019. But this was offset by increases in the value of overall exports to North America, North Asia (Japan and Taiwan) and the UK.
Month-on-month, export volumes of sheepmeat rose by six per cent in February compared to January 2020 but beef volumes fell by 3%.
Sheepmeat exports to China were down 50% by volume and 46% by value compared to February 2019. Beef exports to China dropped 60% by volume and 53% by value.
However, sheepmeat exports to the UK increased 7% by volume and 23% by value. Other notable increases by volume included Malaysia (+184%), Taiwan (+78%), Saudi Arabia (+40%) and Jordan (+151%).
Beef exports to the US grew 39% by volume and 62% by value. There were also increases in the volume and value of beef exports to Taiwan, Canada and Japan.
China remained the top sheepmeat market by volume in February, with 12,165 tonnes. The US was the top beef market by volume, with 19,600 tonnes.
Tim Ritchie, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, said the figures demonstrated the strength of New Zealand’s red meat export sector.
“The sector is committed to playing its part to drive export revenue for the benefit of New Zealand in these uncertain times.
“The spread of COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges and disrupted the supply chain, but the global demand for protein remains strong and we are benefiting from our diverse mix of global markets.
“We are seeing demand from China start to increase again as people go back to work and restaurants re-open. Our focus is now on ensuring we can keep our plants processing, keep our people safe and healthy and continue to export products to our global markets.”