Strong demand from key markets is driving up export growth in forestry products, Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston says.
The latest Ministry for Primary Industries’ Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) shows strong growth in the forestry sector.
“Forestry exports are expected to grow 6.4 per cent to $5.5 billion in 2017, before increasing further to $6.3 billion by 2021 as increased volumes of wood become available for harvest,” Ms Upston says.
Strong demand for logs and sawn timber from key markets such as China and the US are keeping prices high while favourable exchange rates are also contributing to strong returns for exporters, the SOPI shows.
Demand is expected to remain strong, as increased construction activity in China and the US, combined with China’s bans on harvesting native forest should ensure continued demand for New Zealand logs and sawn timber.
“With a bright outlook for forestry production and exports, the Government continues to invest in improved harvesting techniques. This investment is primarily through the Steepland Harvesting Primary Growth Partnership programme, which also encourages afforestation by allowing previously unsuitable land to be planted with production forestry,” Ms Upston says.
Planting is encouraged through other programmes such as the Afforestation Grants Scheme, the Erosion Control Funding Programme and the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change research programme.