24 Jun 2009

Report due on state of the meat industry

9:59 am on 24 June 2009

The Ministry of Agriculture is to issue a new report on Wednesday on the state of the meat industry.

It will include the results of a survey which asked industry participants what they thought the most pressing issues were.

Meat accounted for nearly a third of New Zealand's exports at sheep farming's peak in 1983, but last year the industry accounted for only 14% of exports.

Former Richmond meat company chairman Sam Robinson says the industry has suffered from years of under-investment in markets and new technology.

He says farmers are getting better returns this season only because others have bailed out of the industry after years of poor returns.

Despite an improvement in lamb prices driven by a 23% fall in stock numbers, the Meat Industry Action Group says the old inefficiencies are still there.