The deer industry is gearing up to export more venison into China, now that most of New Zealand's deer processing plants have been cleared to supply that market.
China is a major market for deer antler velvet. But Innes Moffet, the venison marketing manager for Deer Industry New Zealand, said apart from that, the trade in deer products has been largely limited to co-products such as tails, pizzles and sinews.
"We were very pleased to receive the news over the last few months that seven venison processing plants have received approval to export to China and so that now covers the majority of New Zealand venison production.
"A number of companies now either have venison being exported to China or are preparing consignments for export there and so it is very early days," he said.
"Even though the deer is a very revered animal in China and many of the co-products are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine, the meat of deer doesn't form a large part of their diet.
"So we're very keen to see the companies working together to get a better understanding of the place for venison in China."