Primary production

Rotary milking in New Zealand

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.