WELLINGTON, June 14 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand primary industries are forecast to inject more than 42 billion NZ dollars (29.5 billion U.S. dollars) of export into New Zealand's economy this year, Minister for Agriculture Damien O'Connor said on Thursday.
"This is 4.5 billion NZ dollars more than last year and is a good sign that the primary sectors as a whole are in good nick, despite some tough times," O'Connor said at the launch of the Ministry for Primary Industries' Situation and Outlook report for June 2018 on the sidelines of the 50th National Agricultural Fieldays.
"It's also testament to the importance of the primary sectors - not only are they the engine of New Zealand's economy, they bring jobs and security for tens of thousands of people and support rural communities up and down the country," O'Connor said.
The successful year has been led by value growth in New Zealand's three largest sectors, dairy, meat and forestry, which have all posted double-digit growth over the year, he said.
The report also highlights the importance of moving up the value chain with infant formula exports expected to reach 1.2 billion NZ dollars, up 53 percent on the previous year.
This growth has been all the more impressive when considering the many challenges that agribusinesses have faced over the year, including the fight against the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis, which has highlighted the urgent need to strengthen the biosecurity systems, the minister said, adding the weather has also been a challenge.
The recently established Primary Sector Council, which is developing a sector-wide vision, has a significant role to play in driving more sustainability in farming practice, he added. (1 NZ dollar equals to 0.7 U.S. dollar)