Deer farmers are being urged to strengthen market ties with China as the demand for premium deer products increases as China becomes more Westernised.
At the 2012 Deer Industry Conference in Wanaka yesterday, Primary Industries Minister David Carter said "the potential [for primary producers] in China is absolutely huge."
China was rapidly increasing in wealth and as it did it was becoming more Westernised, Mr Carter said.
That meant diets were changing and there was an increased demand for premium food products such as New Zealand venison, he said.
India and Asia were also evolving and there were increasing opportunities for primary producers to increase their international presence, he said.
The deer industry had proven it could withstand economic difficulties, with venison holding strong prices between $7 and $9 a kilogram and steady returns for velvet. It was a role model for other red-meat industries to learn from, Mr Carter said.
Deer Industry New Zealand chairman Andy Macfarlane said deer farmers needed to realise that venison was a "food with integrity" in the international food market.
"We've got it in favour and it's not to be taken for granted," Mr Macfarlane said.
Deer industry leaders from across New Zealand have converged on Wanaka this week for the conference to discuss ways to strengthen profits from deer farming.
About 260 people involved in the industry are expected to attend.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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