Exports tracking towards new record high growth

  • Primary industry exports to reach new record high of $55 billion in 2023
  • Forecasts $2.9 billion higher than in June 2022
  • Tracking strongly towards a 4 per cent increase in the year ending June 2023, despite global downturn

New Zealand’s record food and fibre export revenue is projected to reach new record highs, helping protect New Zealanders from the sharp edges of the global downturn says Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor.

The Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) released today by the Ministry for Primary Industries shows food and fibre export revenue is forecast to grow to a record level of $55 billion this year.

“Accelerating our export growth is a major cornerstone of the Government’s economic recovery plan, and today’s report shows further evidence that plan is working,” Damien O’Connor said.

"Despite the global economic storm gathering, the latest SOPI results show our food and fibre export revenue continuing to climb.

“There is some comfort knowing demand for food and fibre should remain strong throughout any global economic downturn, so New Zealand’s economy remains better positioned when compared to others, so long as we maintain our international competitive edge.  

“The forecast increase of 4 per cent in the year to 30 June 2023 is on top of our record export revenue achieved last year, and $2.9 billion higher than earlier forecasts made in June 2022.

“Dairy remains our largest export, with revenue forecast to grow 6 per cent to a new high of $23.3 billion. Our sheep and beef sector remains strong, with red meat and wool revenue tipped to increase to a record $12.4 billion.

“Horticulture export revenue is expected to grow 5 per cent to $7.1 billion, and strong demand for our processed food and other products is expected to drive 3 per cent growth to $3.3 billion.

“We also expect arable export revenue to grow 5 per cent to $265 million.

“The six new trade agreements and upgrades we’ve secured since 2017, alongside the successful trade missions led by the Prime Minister across five countries, will drive growth of our food and fibre sector into the future.

“We know this is a tough time for Kiwis who are experiencing cost of living pressures and rising interest rates but continuing our export growth means New Zealand is even better placed in a challenging global environment,” Damien O’Connor said. 

Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker said the seafood sector’s hard work was expected to pay-off with an increase in seafood export revenue.

“Seafood export revenue is forecast to increase 4 per cent to $2 billion this year, which is a new record and higher than pre-pandemic levels,” David Parker said.

“Our seafood export revenue took a substantial hit at the start of the pandemic, as food service shut its doors around the world, but hard work, combined with strong demand from food service and tourism reopening, is seeing a swift and continued recovery in export revenue.”

Forestry Minister Stuart Nash said forestry export revenue was expected to increase this year, despite the tough global economic environment.

“Forestry export revenue is set to increase to $6.6 billion in the year to 30 June 2023,” Stuart Nash said.

“This result is to be commended and the forestry sector should be acknowledged, especially over a tough year and in the face of a global slowdown in construction and corresponding lower demand for our logs.  It shows remarkable resilience.”

Associate Minister of Agriculture Meka Whaitiri said Māori agribusinesses play an increasingly vital role in Aotearoa’s food and fibre sector.

“Total exports by Māori businesses have grown by 38 per cent from $630 million in 2017 to $872 million in 2021, with the majority from the food and fibre sector. Our new Rautaki mo te Taurikura action plan will only continue to drive that growth in the years to come,” Meka Whaitiri said.

Damien O’Connor said the success of the food and fibre sector was being guided by the Fit for a Better World roadmap, which the Government developed with the sector. 

“The draft Food and Beverage Industry Transformation Plan launched today for consultation will drive the long-term success and prosperity of our food and beverage producers, our rural communities, and our economy,” Damien O’Connor said.

“We must also acknowledge the international cost pressures impacting our farmers and growers here at home. While they’re easing in some areas, we need to continue supporting farmers where we can, to grow the value of our exports and maintain our competitive edge.

“As we head into the festive season, I’d like to acknowledge the more than 360,000 people working in our food and fibre sector and what they’ve achieved for New Zealand over the past year. Their efforts brighten our future,” Damien O’Connor said.