17th May 2022 By Staff Reporter | email@example.com | @foodtickernz
New Zealand’s red meat exports exceeded $3bn during the first quarter of 2022, despite a drop in volumes due to continuing global supply chain and pandemic challenges.
Total exports for the quarter totalled $3.1bn, a 17% jump on the same period in 2021, according to the Meat Industry Association.
Exports to most markets increased, apart from China, which dropped 1% to $1.2bn as widespread Covid-19 restrictions were put in place.
MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said global demand and prices remained strong, but the sector was seeing the impact of supply chain disruptions and significant processing constraints in New Zealand.
“The increase in exports to markets other than China, including good volumes to Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, demonstrates how agile New Zealand exporters are,” she said.
“Our companies have sound strategies in place to manage different markets depending on the global conditions.
For the month of March, red meat exports during were worth $1.15bn, representing an 11% increase on March 2021.
This was achieved despite the value of exports to China falling 17% to $384m during March, which was offset by increases in nearly all other major markets, according to MIA.
Overall exports to the UK rose by 22% or $65m by value, and by 18% or $50m to Japan, and in the US overall exports were up 48% to $288m.
“The slow-down in meat exports to China was not New Zealand-specific, as Chinese import data shows that there was a drop in the volume of all meat imports into China in March, probably reflecting the impact of the various lock-downs and port disruptions,” Karapeeva said.
Sheepmeat to China was down by 46 % and beef by 7%. However, beef exports to China still represented the third-highest March volume.
Karapeeva said chronic labour shortages in New Zealand continued to be a problem with cattle processing down 11% during the first quarter and sheep processing by 16% compared to 2021, however processing capacity has since improved.
Processors are also having to ensure they align livestock volumes at plants with their ability to ship products to markets in the face of the widespread ports congestion, container availability issues and vessel delays.
These challenges contributed to a drop in volume of both sheepmeat and beef exports compared to March last year, with sheepmeat dropping 25% to 41,541 tonnes and beef by 8% to 46,176 tonnes.
A 80% drop in chilled sheepmeat exports to the UK year-on-year contributed to the fall, with just 433 tonnes going there in March as a result of ongoing logistics issues with transporting chilled product.
However in the US, the sector saw a record monthly volume of sheepmeat exports to the US of 4,295 tonnes worth $83.4m highlighting the growing opportunity for sheepmeat in that market, MIA said.
The value of overall sheepmeat exports nevertheless was largely unchanged at $500m for March and the value of beef exports was up 27% to $470m.
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