Goatmeat. Why not?

Boar meat goats grazing in a early summer fieldWith a major proportion of the world’s population familiar with goatmeat, why not explore the merits of increasing exports of the meat to add to the ambitious export 2020 goal for New Zealand meat exports?

That’s what goatmeat industry delegates will be asking themselves at the goat industry conference in Queenstown later this month. As it grows nearer, New Zealand goatmeat appears to be making a bit of a resurgence – at least in terms of awareness.

The goat levy, which had been collected by Meat & Wool NZ (now Beef + Lamb NZ) to support research and promotion efforts, was lost after the organisation’s last referendum which resulted in the cessation of both the wool and goat levies. The remaining goat levies have been used to fund research, but the pot is dwindling.

At the forthcoming conference, goat producers will hear from Federated Farmers meat and fibre chair Jeanette Maxwell on the merits of a Commodities Levies Act application to raise funds and the possible process around it.

The conference will also be the venue for the Mohair NZ annual general meeting, along with others for the NZ Boer Goat Breeders Association, Meat Goat NZ and NZ Goats. Part of NZ Goats session will include a facilitated discussion on the way forward for the group with a number of speakers including Richard Thorp, chief executive of Lean Meats Ltd who will cover goat meat processing aspects, Fiona Carruthers, project manager for Beef + Lamb NZ Ltd and nutritionist who will examine the product’s nutritional credentials. Other speakers are Helen Darling principal consultant for Darling Associates, and Richard Shaw, a senior scientist at AgResearch Ltd.

A 4WD visit to a high country Boer goat farm at Gibbston is also on the cards for delegates.

Relative to the rest of the red meat sector, goatmeat is currently a small market. In 2013, just over 1,000 tonnes, worth $6.4 million, was exported to 23 markets. Just over 30 percent of that export value was earned from the top market, the US ($1.9 million), with the Reunion Islands, Canada, Guadeloupe and Martinique also in the top five. A dozen or so companies, including Lean Meats, Goat Meat Exports, Silver Fern Farms and Taylor Preston are able to process goatmeat.

The main obstacle to growing exports, however, is increasing the number of goat farmers and goats. Federated Farmers, which has been involved in helping the goat industry resolve resource management issues for over a decade, has identified this as the major priority for the sector and is working with industry on raising awareness.

The 2014 New Zealand Goats Conference, organised by Federated Farmers, will take place in Queenstown from 23-25 May, Rydges Lakeland Resort, Queenstown.

More information and registration … 

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