Brexit catalyst in NZ meat marketing


Brexit has inadvertently become a catalyst for a "fresh level of thinking" among government, farmers and processors in the United Kingdom and Europe, Beef+Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons says.

Brexit and the uncertainty surrounding it dominated nearly every discussion Mr Parsons had during a recent visit to Europe and the UK.

The immediate impact on lamb prices had been the weakening of the pound and, while some might say "not that old excuse again", the impact was real, Mr Parsons said in his latest chairman's update.

On the positive side, UK buyers were paying more for New Zealand lamb than last year but, frustratingly, it was not translating into increases in New Zealand dollars for farmers. The Irish, who exported much of their lamb and beef to Britain, were equally hurting, Mr Parsons said.

Increasing consumer demand was a separate issue, which Beef+Lamb had given a lot of thought to, and it was a key topic of discussion with UK and EU farming groups.

Beef+Lamb's new market development strategy fitted well with the need to develop new markets and greater consumption of lamb.

"Among the many options, our sincere wish is to explore opportunities with northern hemisphere producers to supply third countries in a co-ordinated fashion counter-seasonally.

"This will take a lot of work jointly with New Zealand exporters and also processors offshore, but presents significant opportunity if executed well," he said.

In a back-handed way, Brexit had been so disruptive it had become a catalyst for a level of fresh thinking Mr Parsons had not seen before among government, farmer and processor representatives in the UK and Europe.

Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult