New Zealand’s agricultural productionNew Zealand’s diverse landscape allows for various forms of pastoral farming to dominate in different regions. Sheep farming, beef cattle farming, and dairying are all activities that contribute to the country’s livestock industry. Sheep farming has historically played a significant role in terms of the development of New Zealand's economy, and was the most important segment of the farming industry from 1856 to 1987. A source of the valuable export commodity wool, as well as meat for local trade, job opportunities for sheep farmers were abundant during this period. As the economic value added by this industry has declined over the years, so has the number of sheep livestock in the country.
Horticulture production provides food for New Zealanders, with major crops including wine grapes, kiwi, potatoes, and apples to name a few. New Zealand’s horticulture production also contributes to the needs of the growing global population. Australia is one of the leading export destinations for fresh New Zealand grown fruit and vegetables, as well as for processed goods such as wine. New Zealand wine has developed a reputation for itself over the past few years, and the export value of wine was valued at close to two billion New Zealand dollars in 2019.
The dairying industry has taken over in terms of providing the most value to New Zealand’s export economy. The country is the world’s eighth largest dairy producer and exports the vast majority of milk produced in the country. Over time, the dairy industry has grown due to product diversification and innovation. However, there are still challenges facing this segment. Contamination scares and legal issues led to Fonterra, New Zealand’s largest dairy co-operative, recording a significant loss in fiscal year 2019. The company seemed to recover and recorded a net profit in fiscal year 2020.