Oceania

New Zealand Agriculture, Livestock, and Fishing

ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING

Agriculture and livestock occupy only 6.9% of the active population and cover about 6.5% of GDP (2007), however they remain an important part of the New Zealand economy, also because most of the national wealth produced from industries derives from the transformation of primary sector products. Arable and arborescent crops cover 12.2% of the territorial surface; in addition to fodder crops (which are at the service of breeding), cereal crops, especially wheat and barley and maize, prevail; fruit and vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes and fruit, especially apples, wine grapes, pears, kiwis (New Zealand’s most famous product), citrus fruits and summer fruit (peaches, plums, apricots and cherries) are also of some importance. Phormium tenax, a textile plant typical of New Zealand and whose fibers, exceptionally strong, are used for the production of ropes. Since the end of the twentieth century there has been an increase in cultivated land and exports. § Over a quarter of the national territory is occupied by forests; Particular economic importance is covered by the expanses of artificial conifers, typical of the northern hemisphere and rapidly developing, destined to feed above all the paper industry. Natural forests, on the other hand, are made up of indigenous tree species, such as neech, kauri, rimu, tarare and tawa, which are still little exploited. § However, it is livestock that finds excellent environmental conditions in these islands (almost half of the territorial surface consists of permanent meadows and pastures), which man has been able to make the best use of it through an efficient and highly advanced production organization. Sheep clearly prevails (as a country located in Oceania according to simplyyellowpages.com, New Zealand is the sixth largest producer in the world, with 40 million heads in 2005), distributed on both islands, but whose intensive farming is practiced above all on the North Island. Given the general mildness of the climate, flocks can be stationed almost anywhere in the open. Sheep provide large quantities of both wool – for which New Zealand ranks third on a world scale, with 230,000 t (2005) and the fourth largest producer of wool yarns, with 22,000 t (2000) -, and meat – which once frozen is widely exported – and finally of dairy products – New Zealand is the sixth world producer of butter, with 336. 000 t in 2005). Milk processing enterprises are usually distributed in rural areas. Cattle are also raised on a large scale, especially on the North Island, making a rational use of forage production. Finally, over 20 million are poultry and 390,000 pigs. At the level of agricultural organization, the trend we are witnessing is that of a progressive reduction in the number of medium-sized and family-run farms in the face of a greater concentration in large properties, which allow greater mechanization and greater production efficiency. § Fishing activities are expanding, also thanks to the development of the export industry; fishing rights, according to a 1992 agreement, are split 50% between whites and Maori. Milk processing enterprises are usually distributed in rural areas. Cattle are also raised on a large scale, especially on the North Island, making a rational use of forage production. Finally, over 20 million are poultry and 390,000 pigs. At the level of agricultural organization, the trend we are witnessing is that of a progressive reduction in the number of medium-sized and family-run farms in the face of a greater concentration in large properties, which allow greater mechanization and greater production efficiency. § Fishing activities are expanding, also thanks to the development of the export industry; fishing rights, according to a 1992 agreement, are split 50% between whites and Maori. Milk processing enterprises are usually distributed in rural areas. Cattle are also raised on a large scale, especially on the North Island, making a rational use of forage production. Finally, over 20 million are poultry and 390,000 pigs. At the level of agricultural organization, the trend we are witnessing is that of a progressive reduction in the number of medium-sized and family-run farms in the face of a greater concentration in large properties, which allow greater mechanization and greater production efficiency. § Fishing activities are expanding, also thanks to the development of the export industry; fishing rights, according to a 1992 agreement, are split 50% between whites and Maori.

HYDROGRAPHY

New Zealand is rich in rivers well fed by abundant rainfall and, on the South Island, by the melting waters of glaciers; their course, however, is generally short and steeply sloping, therefore not navigable. Only in the North Island did the shape of the relief allow the development of navigable watercourses: access to the mouths is however made difficult by coastal bars and ribs. The most important rivers on the North Island are the Waikato (425 km), an emissary of Lake Taupo and a tributary of the Tasman Sea, and the Wanganui (290 km), which flows into the Cook Strait. On the South Island, the main rivers flow down to the Pacific Ocean, such as the Clutha (322 km) and the Waitaki (209 km). There are also numerous lake basins, but generally not very extensive. The largest (606 km²) is Taupo, on the North Island, where the lakes are mostly volcanic in origin; on the South Island, on the other hand, they are mainly of glacial excavation: at the foot of the mountain ridge, and mostly stretched perpendicular to the relief, there are, among the many, the Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau lakes that send their waters to flow into the Waitaki River, and the Hawea, Wanaka and Wakatipu lakes that feed the Clutha; the largest is Te Anau (344 km²).

New Zealand Agriculture