New Zealand red meat exports remained steady in April with a total of $863 million worth of meat and co products exported to global markets, according to the latest analysis from the Meat Industry Association (MIA).
Overall, April export figures showed an increase on April 2020 levels, MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said.
"We are seeing healthy signs that trade is returning to more regular pre-Covid-19 patterns alongside the ongoing strong demand from China as African Swine Fever drives a growing demand for protein such as beef and lamb."
There were significant increases in the value of exports of chilled meat in April 2021 compared to April 2020, with sheepmeat up 20 per cent to $65 million and beef up 48 per cent to $45 million.
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"These levels are similar to the pre-Covid-19 levels of April 2019, indicating that some of the pandemic-related disruptions that saw a reasonably large drop in chilled exports in April 2020 are starting to resolve," Karapeeva said.
However, while meat exports were steady compared to a year ago, the current supply chain disruptions continued to put significant strain on all exporters, including the meat industry.
"Along with irregular shipping services and unreliable timetables, there's pressure on cold storage facilities and container parks. All of this means costs are rising at every stage of the supply chain."
These issues had been raised with the Government by the Council of Cargo Owners, which represented the interests of New Zealand exporters and importers, Karapeeva said.
"We're seeking discussions around an urgent solution."