December 7, 2007
December 7, 2007 - After spending a year in France, Trevor Pratt is at a loss to explain why New Zealand lamb sells so cheaply in that part of Europe.
New Zealand lamb was consistently about three times cheaper than French lamb.
Pratt could not understand why the French farmers tolerate cheap product entering the country or why Kiwi farmers are not trying to extract better returns from lamb. He said the high New Zealand currency would have little effect because prices were so low.
"I just do not know why our lamb is that cheap. New Zealand lamb is so cheap that you think `why would you buy it, there has to be something wrong with it,'" commented Pratt. "New Zealand horsemeat sells for exactly the same price as local horsemeat, so what is holding lamb back?"
Keith Kelly, chairman of the New Zealand Meat and Fiber Producers Council, said consumer pressure to buy local lamb was hurting Kiwi farmers who, unlike European farmers, did not have subsidies to increase their income.
Meat and Wool New Zealand's chairman, Mike Petersen, said the French were patriotic buyers of local product and were prepared to pay more for domestic lamb. He said there was little New Zealand could do to change the "age-old problem."
Meat and Wool was meeting with French farmers to convince them to treat all lamb as equal.
France is New Zealand's second biggest market by volume for exported lamb, and third by value. Reprinted in part from Stuff.co.nz