In the 12 months to June 2019, exports of sheep, beef and co-products reached a value of $8.8bn.
Both beef and sheep exports grew at similar levels over the 12-month period. Beef export volumes were up by 9% to more than 453,202 tonnes with a 13% increase in value while more than 399,470 tonnes of sheepmeat was exported, static in volume terms but up 6% in value.
China was identified as a driver of increased exports for New Zealand red meat during June. The MIA data revealed that in June, beef exports to the country grew to more than 250,00 tonnes while sheep meat exports increased 20% year-on-year.
Tim Ritchie, MIA chief executive, highlighted China as a growth market for New Zealand.
“China has taken more than half of New Zealand’s sheepmeat exports and beef exports have increased by 79% by volume, overtaking the US as our largest beef market,” he said. “It’s also very pleasing to see we’re getting more bang for our buck off sheepmeat exports with value up 6% on last year despite volumes remaining the same.”
Other areas of growth in June included Japan, which saw a 10% year-on-year increase in beef exports. New Zealand has also benefitted from the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, leading to a 29% volume growth to Japan.
Meanwhile, the ongoing Brexit situation meant that the overall value of exports to the UK dropped 11% compared to last year.
Ritchie praised the progress made over the past 12 months. “Overall, this is an outstanding result for the sector delivering value for all New Zealanders. As the country’s second largest goods exporter and largest manufacturing sector, the red meat sector is critical to New Zealand’s prosperity.
“The sector directly employees some 25,000 people, mainly in regional New Zealand, supporting the livelihoods of families and rural communities. That means these export figures are good news not only for our national economy, but for regional New Zealand.”