By RNZ

New Zealand's food is still in high international demand despite the impact of Covid-19.

Trade data released this morning shows primary exports pulled in nearly $8.2 billion between the start of February and 22 April.

That is about $40 million less than over the same period last year but compares with just $7.4b in 2018.

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This year's exports include nearly $6.2b from the dairy and meat sectors and $890m in fruit.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the figures show New Zealand has a head start in recovering from Covid-19.

"These latest stats show the sector is in a strong position to help us reboot our economy. There is no shortage of demand," he said.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

However, he noted a shortfall of 50,000 jobs in the primary sector that needed filling.

Exports of meat, dairy, seafood and forestry products have a bleaker outlook since March, having fallen 12 percent year-on-year, mainly due to a fall in forestry and seafood exports to China. Seafood export revenue from China is down 36 percent.