Jun 17, 2022
PGG Wrightson exported the first ever dry velvet to China earlier this month – a sign of the changing times for New Zealand deer velvet, which is targeting health food companies in the emerging market in a bid to increase value for farmers.
The small trial airfreight consignment arrived at Beijing in early June in what is hoped will be the first of many shipments for the company, PGG Wrightson national deer and velvet manager Tony Cochrane said.
Speaking at the first DINZ Road Trip event, PGG Wrightson national deer and velvet manager Tony Cochrane, explained why the company had invested in the Shanghai-linked China Deer Velvet Coalition (CDVC), alongside velvet sellers and exporters Provelco and CK. Management is provided by NZTE and DINZ.
“We are working together to promote the product into China as a food ingredient,” he said, adding the collaboration was also part of the Primary Collaboration New Zealand (PCNZ) based in Shanghai.
Success in Korea, over the past 12 years, has assisted farmgate values to quadruple to reach a forecast $120m this season.
The potential is to do the same in China. There is also potential for a boost from “revenge spending” as Chinese consumers exit strict lockdowns, looking both to boost their immune systems and try new things like New Zealand deer velvet and venison.
China takes all grades of New Zealand deer velvet but particularly prizes the ‘jelly tips’ of the velvet, the part that has the active cell growth, “that sells for $10,000/kg plus”. However, of the 60 percent of velvet currently exported to China, 40 percent goes to customers in South Korea.
“If we want to expand and to grow a market, because we want to grow production, we’ve got to find ways of getting into China and that’s why we’re trying to tap into those food companies,” said Cochrane, adding managing animal welfare and public perceptions through VelTrak and the sector’s quality assurance programmes will be important, as well as New Zealand ensuring it is capturing value.
Logistics issues are still impacting on shipments to China, which is adding to the cost of shipping for exporters and importers.