The world has taken serious notice of the way New Zealand has managed the COVID-19 crisis and the results we have achieved so far with our total lockdown programme. It’s time to focus on the good news and relative strengths of New Zealand’s food and associated cold storage industry.
Many New Zealanders will be turned upside down and our economy will look different but, here are just a few of the reasons we can expect to come out of this crisis with the vital food sector leading the charge.
Here are 5 reasons why we think New Zealand is in great shape for a post-COVID-19 recovery:
1 – The World Still Needs Feeding
The world still needs feeding and New Zealand is still in an excellent position to fulfil part of this demand. As with the global financial crisis our agricultural sector is in a good position to lead our economy back into positive territory. New Zealand food producers are among the best if not the best in the world. More important is the fact that the rest of the world knows this and consequently feel safe purchasing any food from New Zealand.
The Government is closely monitoring the situation the agriculture sector is facing and working with industry leaders to ensure New Zealand’s high-quality products continue to get to market despite the global trade issues created by COVID-19.
2 – Good Pricing for Exported Food Products
We are still achieving some good prices for our food products. Figures released show our exports of $148 billion up to the end of March quarter were 13.2% ahead of the same time last year.
We are now seeing a recovery in China with trade flows and the unloading of refrigerated container ships beginning to return to something more like normal. The issues of cold stores experiencing a shortage of storage space seem to be disappearing.
3 – No Foodborne Transmission
There is still no evidence of foodborne transmission of COVID-19. The New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre members and ESR have produced an urgent review which answers questions many of our members have about the risks of food producers and handlers transmitting the virus. Importantly it states so far, there is no evidence that humans have been infected by swallowing the virus in or on food or drink.
4 – Growing Horticulture and Aquaculture Sector
While many industry sectors are in the process of managing staff and layoffs the horticulture sector is crying out for more staff – not just a few… but thousands. Now the industry is reporting 90% of Kiwi fruit pickers are New Zealanders. That’s got to be a first!
Aquaculture earnings continue to grow and are expected to increase by more than 10 per cent in the current financial year. The prices remain strong for hoki and there is high demand for squid and salmon. Our largest fishing port in Nelson reports that seafood exporters with diverse markets have had minimal disruptions from COVID-19.
5 – Strong Banking and Stimulus Packages
With a banking system as good as any in the world and a Reserve Bank determined to provide the necessary stimulus for as long as it takes, we are indeed in an enviable position compared to the rest of the world. Businesses can be confident that interest rates will remain low for a long, long time. Because of the great fiscal position the Government was in at the start of the pandemic, we have an enormous amount of headroom and credibility for borrowing.
Since the beginning of this coronavirus crisis, the greatest concern has been the guarantee of food supplies. Despite the reassuring messages made by different governments, the coronavirus has exposed the fragility of the global food system. Thankfully NZ is in a good position to seize this opportunity.
Ulti Group stands firmly behind our NZ food manufacturers, and we’re available to help enhance productivity and safety at your facility. Get in touch with our experienced team to find out more.