Ban impact felt in China

For a culture that places so much value in relationships, it was disheartening for Chinese businesses to discover through mainstream media the bombshell dropped by the New Zealand government earlier this year.

There was no consultation before the decision was made and they are hanging onto hope that the government will reconsider their position and work with the stakeholders to come to an agreement for the trade going forward.

“It’s a big loss to the agricultural sectors of both countries,” says Dr. Changliang YAN from the China Animal Husbandry Group (CAHG).

“The livestock exporting trade is more than business, Chinese buyers like to go to New Zealand to see where the livestock come from and learn about the culture and farming.” - Dr. Changliang YAN

But without the trade, the buyers will have less opportunities to come to New Zealand and there will be less communication between the livestock industries of the two countries.

Between January and September of this year, China imported over 90,000 head of cattle from New Zealand, which makes up 33% of their cattle imports. Without the trade with New Zealand China will have 33% less choice in which cattle they purchase.

“Selling livestock, particularly cattle, to China helps New Zealand speed up progress in genetic gain, which is a good thing in the long run,” Dr. YAN says.

With one less avenue to import livestock, there will be heavy impacts on the trade for China, including the price and quantity of stock and produce available because supplies will be tighter.

Mr Fenglong ZHAO, the general manager for livestock and genetics at CAHG would like to see more government officials visit China to see the investments they have made to improve animal welfare.

“The reality is a lot has changed and we have improved significantly, there has been a lot of investment in animal welfare in China,” ZHAO says.

Another business with interests in New Zealand livestock is Beijing Sinofarm Import & Export Co Ltd. Their general manager for breeding livestock importation, Ms. Haiying KANG, is disappointed by the announcement of the ban.

“China has put a lot of effort into improving facilities and supporting animal welfare,” KANG says.
“We spend lots of money on our sheds, they are state of the art facilities.”

KANG believes there are plenty of options to mitigate concerns around animal welfare on both sides of the ocean and she encourages choosing who manages the export process wisely.

And if further requirements are developed to support the trade and provide transparency and assurance she believes it should continue.

“I’d like to hope our governments can keep communication open and come to an agreement that protects the animals and the trade into the future.”

This story was first published in the December 2021 issue of Dairy Farmer magazine


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