Agritech exports worth $1.2b

New Zealand’s agritechnology exports are worth approximately $1.2 billion annually, and there is a big opportunity to grow them further according to the latest research into the sector, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said.

The Coriolis Report into New Zealand’s agritech sector was commissioned by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to understand the export opportunities for Kiwi agritech companies. It provides detailed analysis of the size, value and future potential of the agritech sector, New Zealand’s strengths in an international context, and compares our agritech production with similar-sized agricultural nations.

“The agriculture sector plays a very significant role in our economy,” Mr Joyce says. “This research shows that our innovative agritechnology systems generate very significant exports in their own right, and provide the opportunity to deliver much more for New Zealand in the years ahead.”

New Zealand’s agritech sector is made up of a diverse range of products and services, including animal and seed genetics, fertiliser and agri-chemicals, fencing supplies, farm tools, machinery and systems, and pumping and irrigation industries.

“Australia and the United States are our top agritech export destinations but the research reveals that exports to Canada, China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia are showing double-digit growth,” Mr Joyce says.

“New Zealand has historically underperformed in agritech exports compared with other advanced agricultural nations.  However our exports are now growing more quickly than our competitors’, and opportunities for more growth exist across a wide range of markets.  Europe, China and South America stand out as the biggest areas of potential growth.”

The removal of the dairy quota system is opening up opportunities in Europe and New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with China, along with China’s substantial demand for meat and dairy products, is providing New Zealand agritech companies with significant opportunities, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“New Zealand is one of the world’s most efficient primary producers, and this report shows our expertise and technology in this area is in growing demand around the world.”

Animal health products, medicines and preventative treatments for on-farm use were the largest export earners at $311 million. This category was closely followed by fencing supplies and equipment, and machinery and systems, each with $307 million in export sales.

The report is available here.

Land sales to foreigners is a very emotive issue. There’s rarely a fuss when an agritech company is sold even though the land will always stay here but intellectual property is mobile.

This is not an argument against selling to overseas companies. There can be advantages to New Zealand from such sales, not least of which is the investment of more capital.

We need to recognises and appreciate that our success in farming is both helped by and contributes to success in agritechnology and that foreign investment can help both.

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