Agriculture, forestry and fishing underpin the New Zealand economy. The country’s reliable rainfall, good sunshine hours, quality soils and abundant natural resources create a strong base for agricultural production.

New Zealand's expertise in agriculture provides solutions and problem-solving capability for complex environments around the world. Our highly competitive and efficient primary production systems are exported to every corner of the globe.

Our reputation for farming expertise and quality food-production systems place us in a strong position to meet the world's increasing food demands. A number of planned irrigation projects will create new irrigable land, increasing New Zealand’s attractiveness as an investment destination.

New Zealand offers investment opportunities throughout the forestry supply chain from plantation to wood processing. The low levels of local processing, alongside increasing harvests, represent a significant opportunity for national and international wood processors.

We are well positioned to capitalise on the fast-growing aquaculture sector by leveraging our climate and resource advantages. The sector is supported by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, which provides leading environmental science to assist in the sustainable management approach taken by the businesses.

The country is one of the most efficient agricultural economies with a reputation for producing internationally significant research, agricultural practices and products. New Zealand companies are responsible for many world-first innovations. These include milk meters, livestock identification tags, and electric fencing systems.

World leaders in pastoral farming inputs

New Zealand has a strong and dedicated agricultural research community. Its researchers are well connected internationally and collaborate widely. They have also demonstrated an ability to commercialise scientific research and learning into market applications.

Seasonal, pasture-based production system

By adopting a seasonal, pasture-based system, New Zealand farmers enjoy higher efficiency in nutrients, labour and energy than farmers using confinement systems. Not subject to high grain or supplementary feed costs, they experience greater flexibility in managing production costs.

Strong food safety standards

New Zealand’s stringent food standards have led to a high-performing primary sector. The country has implemented robust biosecurity measures, and has high levels of food traceability. The World Organization for Animal Health has recognised New Zealand as free of animal diseases.

Access to free trade agreements

New Zealand has preferential access to some markets – particularly with its primary products – including an EU quota and a Free Trade Agreement with China. The ongoing removal of trade barriers and negotiation of new free trade agreements provide further opportunities.

Forestry and logging

New Zealand has a vibrant forestry and wood-processing sector that provides significant investment opportunities in value-added wood products. Our production plantations are among the world's largest and most intensively and sustainably managed. Pine forests are genetically selected to ensure excellent quality in terms of growth, form and wood properties. Our climate and topography are well suited to fast growth with the industry harvesting all year round.

Forestry and logging is an important export industry. Almost 70 percent of wood from our plantation production forests is exported in a variety of forms, including logs, wood chips, sawn timber, panel products, pulp and paper, and further manufactured wooden products, including furniture.

Radiata pine, which makes up 90 percent of the plantation estate, has had considerable research investment and has demonstrated its versatility for a wide range of uses. These forests cover an area of 1.8 million hectares and produce over 99 percent of the country's wood. Wood availability is forecast to increase rapidly making this an attractive investment opportunity for producers of high-value wood products. 


Our island nation is located in the South Pacific Ocean, one of the world's finest locations for marine farming. This pathogen-free aquatic environment and absence of inorganic toxins means New Zealand is one of the few countries where shellfish do not require purification in clean seawater prior to processing.

We have an Exclusive Economic Zone of 4.1 million square kilometres, supporting a wide variety of in-shore fish, some large deep-water fin fish, squid and tuna. Its clean coastal waters are also well suited to aquaculture. The main species farmed are Pacific oyster, green-lipped mussels and Quinnat salmon.

Fishing is a major industry and important export earner. Seventy percent of the country’s seafood exports are now categorised as added-value goods due to innovations in the sector.

New Zealand controls the world's fourth largest coastal fishing zone and has achieved a number one world ranking for fisheries management in three independent, internationally peer reviewed studies, in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

18% exports related to primary production


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