Monday, April 22, 2024

China still takes the lion’s share of NZ meat

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China continued to take 40% of New Zealand’s meat and co-products exports in the 2021 financial year, paying $3.64 billion out of $9.1b total export revenue. Half of China’s expenditure was on NZ sheepmeats, one-third on beef and the rest co-products.
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China continued to take 40% of New Zealand’s meat and co-products exports in the 2021 financial year, paying $3.64 billion out of $9.1b total export revenue.

Half of China’s expenditure was on NZ sheepmeats, one-third on beef and the rest co-products.

The Meat Industry Association’s (MIA) annual report said the United States was the second-largest market, paying $1.87b, two-thirds spent on beef and the rest split between lamb and co-products.

Overall, sheepmeats and beef account for 43% and 39% respectively of export revenue, co-products returning the remaining 18%.

MIA chair John Loughlin and chief executive Sirma Karapeeva commented that FY21 was a near-record year for meat exports, down 3% on the year before, and that $9.1b worth of products went to 108 countries.

This was a testament to meat companies’ relationships, resilience, agility and innovation under the extraordinary impact of covid-19.

“Companies were able to move products both between markets and within markets, adapting quickly to the impacts of covid-19 on the foodservice sector and a rise in demand for retail ready meals,” they said in the report.

They commented on the huge logistical challenges that were bringing out flexibility and creativity in the meat industry.

The need to move more than 60,000 shipping containers annually has run into significant disruptions to shipping schedules, large cost increases, shortages of reefers and long delays at ports affecting berthing windows and product shelf life.

The MIA report does not quantify the increased costs and delays in the supply chain.

Over 25,000 people are employed in the industry, which is the largest on-the-job trainer, with 5000 people enrolled in NZQA courses each year with an 85% pass rate.

However, a shortage of workers in the regions means a big need for migrant labour, especially halal butchers.

“When the current visa extensions for the existing migrant halal butchers run out, our industry will face a crunch point,” the report said.

MIA called on the Government for a permanent solution, being a special work visa for halal butchers.

It also recognised the need for the industry to do more to tell New Zealanders that good paying jobs and career pathways are available.

For the first time in five years, sheepmeats exports rose above 400,000 tonnes and China took an extraordinary 60% of that volume, up 17% on the year before.

Although that is a very high percentage of exports going to one country, the response to covid-19 showed access to a wider range of countries, now 87 in total.

The recovery of the foodservice sector in North America lifted sheepmeats imports from NZ by 35% to 37,500t and $486m.

European countries took $1b of sheepmeats and the MIA thought that changes in the volumes going to European Union countries and the United Kingdom were probably market-related rather than caused by Brexit.

The split in our WTO quotas for sheepmeat and beef between the EU and UK remains unresolved, but the MIA expects announcements on free-trade agreements this year.

Beef exports totalled 480,000t, up 4% on the previous year, and another record volume.

China’s 39% share fell slightly as other exporters like Brazil, Argentina and the US improved their access.

Japan’s share of our beef exports increased 19% by volume to 26,600t and 7% by value.

China led the demand for co-products like casings, tripe, hides, skins and offals.

The US and Australia take different products, like prepared and preserved meats and blood products.

Meat and bone meal and tallow make up 20% of all co-products.

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