27 Aug 2014

Meat strains world's resources - report

5:34 pm on 27 August 2014

A mainstay of New Zealand's economy is under fire from a global think tank.

The Washington Institute highlighted the strain meat production puts on land and water.

The Washington Institute highlighted the strain meat production puts on land and water. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The Washington-based environmental research organisation Worldwatch Institute has just released a report highlighting the strain meat production is putting on land and water resources.

The report highlighted the fact that New Zealand and Australia alone were responsible for 84 percent of the world's lamb and mutton exports.

It said meat production was using close to 70 percent of the planet's agricultural land, and another 10 percent for growing grains to feed livestock.

It also said it was using about 70 percent of the world's available freshwater.

The Institute suggested alternative practices like switching from grains to grass and other plants, and promoted eating less meat to relieve pressure on resources.

Its report said meat production had expanded more than fourfold over just the past five decades, in response to growing purchasing power, urbanization and changing diets, with people in industrial countries eating an average of 75.9 kilograms meat in 2013.

It said growth had not been constrained by rising prices.

NZ food prices fall

Meanwhile, official figures show New Zealand's Food Price Index fell 0.7 percent in July, compared with the previous month.

Statistics New Zealand said the declines was due to cheaper meat, grocery, fruit and vegetables.

On an annual bass, food prices declined 0.1 percent.

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