Dairy exports to China up $114m, lamb up $57m

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Dairy and lamb exports to China are rising.

Statistics New Zealand said dairy exports to China had increased by $114million in the year to March, compared with the previous corresponding period.

Total dairy exports increased by $250million or 29% compared with the previous year.

Charlton dairy farmer Doug Dodds said he was pleased with the increase, but recommended caution.

“It’s always a good thing, but it is important not to get too reliant on one market,” Mr Dodds said.

China was very important to the dairy industry, he said

“China is one of our biggest markets,” he said.

The export increase meant an increase in the Global Dairy Trade index, Mr Dodds said.

“It was pleasing to see the GDT rise again this morning [May 3].”

Lamb exports to China rose by $57million in the year to March, compared with the previous year.

Ferndale sheep and beef farmer Lester Dickie said he was happy with the increase.

“It pushes prices up. There is a shortage at the moment, which also pushes prices up,” Mr Dickie said.

He would like to see prices increase further, he said.

“We need to get them up further.

“They are definitely trending the right way.”

Beef and Lamb New Zealand southern South Island farm director Andrew Morrison said the meat industry was good at getting the best value out of its products.

“They are really good at maximising the value of the meat,” Mr Morrison said.

People in China were starting to buy more expensive cuts of meat, he said.

“China is starting to move up the value chain.”

It was important to build relationships with different markets, he said.

“Building a relationship with any market is a good thing.

“It is important we don’t just rely on one market,” Mr Morrison said.

Farmer and Ensign rural columnist Henry McFadzien said building a good relationship with China was vital.

“Long term, I think China is where a great deal of our trade will end up,” Mr McFadzien said.

With Brexit looming, New Zealand’s trade relationship with the United Kingdom was rocky, he said.

New Zealand needed to look to Asia to pick up the slack resulting from Brexit.

“China seem to be really keen on our dairy,” Mr McFadzien said.

“They [China] are not here for fun; they are here to do business.”