Southern export documentation from the primary sector has risen by 5%-10% during the past year.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said documentation for products such as deer velvet, red meat, wine, milk powder, logs and wood products were all generally up 0.5%-1% each; cumulatively about 5%-10% on a year ago.
“Year-on-year documentation is up significantly, at the peak of the season we're writing 600-800 export documents a week,” McGowan said.
“Exporters really don't want to see their goods hanging around on the wharf,” he said of documentation turnover.
The Chamber of Commerce network across the country is one of three providers signing off export documentation nationally, confirming data, including origin and authenticity.
“There's been a good outflow from Port Otago - we're starting to see good numbers of export receipts,” he said. Southern lamb weights and subsequent prices had held up well for farmers, even with the tide turning against them with the New Zealand dollar having started appreciating in recent weeks.
McGowan was concerned about the effects on farmers from the heavy rain and floods in some areas last week, but was not aware of any major stock losses. While “pre-Christmas exports” for the farmers was looking strong, McGowan was
concerned over the simmering Brexit issue.
April exports for Easter in the northern hemisphere were important for New Zealand farmers.
“New Zealand will need to keep a close watch on the (Brexit) trade talks,” he said. A growing market in the South was the export of chilled meat to China, which began in mid-2018.
“It's certainly a growth area, but by far the majority of exports are still frozen,” he said.
It was announced in April last year that NZ and China had agreed to protocols relating to chilled meat - lauded for its potential to add hundreds of millions of dollars in returns from red meat exports. New Zealand's first consignments of chilled meat to China were flown to Shanghai in July as part of a six-month trial.
At the time Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the air-freighted consignments from Alliance Group and Greenlea Premier Meats marked a significant step towards enabling permanent access for NZ chilled meat to China.
Alliance Group sent French lamb racks which had been processed at its Pukeuri plant. Industry leaders predicted the market could add up to 64% in value to those exports to China, which were already worth nearly $1.6 billion in 2015.
*Simon Hartley is senior business writer and assistant chief reporter for the Otago Daily Times.