Farmers say ‘let it rain’ exports

Press Release – Federated Farmers

With much of New Zealand enjoying good rainfall the current season could be among the best. This potential is highlighted in November’s Overseas Merchandise Trade statistics, with the full agricultural sector accounting for 80 percent of New Zealand’s …9 January 2012

Farmers say ‘let it rain’ exports

With much of New Zealand enjoying good rainfall the current season could be among the best. This potential is highlighted in November’s Overseas Merchandise Trade statistics, with the full agricultural sector accounting for 80 percent of New Zealand’s top-10 merchandise exports.

“Let it rain may not be the thing people want to hear over summer, but economically and practically, it could help rain jobs and public services,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“While there’s been excess rain in some places, especially around Nelson/Golden Bay and the Bay of Plenty, a good swathe of New Zealand’s pasture has benefitted. I see that in the lush grass around the Hawke’s Bay instead of the usual brown for this time of the year.

“Naturally, Federated Farmers is anxious about unusually dry conditions in Southland and Otago. Our provincial executives there are fully up to speed and engaged with their councils.

“This shows why our push for water storage infrastructure has been heeded by Government. It will provide New Zealand’s farm system with a means to store rainfall when it’s plentiful, a bit like the way water is stored by our towns and cities.

“If you want an economic argument for why water storage makes sense, go no further than November’s Overseas Merchandise Trade statistics. These trade statistics came out of a fairly benign winter and spring.

“In the year to last November, the agricultural sector accounted for six of the top-ten physical exports. However, in terms of export dollars, the sector accounted for 80 percent of the top-ten; around $25 billion out of $31 billion.

“When we talk agriculture we include all the work done inside and outside the farmgate. That means our farms and factories generated almost 68 percent of New Zealand’s physical export dollars. Out of our top 40 export commodities, agriculture’s share was 71 percent.

“This is not just a dairy story as meat and forestry all turned in double digit growth too. Wool is now just below $800 million for the year to November and that’s up 31.5 percent on last year.

“Equally impressive are less glamorous but valuable exports like leather as well as animal and vegetable fats. Both recorded year-on-year increases well over 20 percent highlighting that the agriculture sector as a whole is delivering what New Zealand needs.

“This export performance given the current rain, or lack of it down south, underscores why water storage is an economic no-brainer. Water storage is all about future proofing.

“Yet with the uncertain global outlook, Federated Farmers advice to farmers is to make hay while the sun shines,” Mr Wills concluded.

ENDS

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