[29 October/The Country]

The deer velvet market was expected to remain stable over the 2018/19 season due to increased consumption of the product in Asia alongside increased production in New Zealand.  Prices have consistently increased over the past eight years. Deer Industry NZ Asia Manager, Rhys Griffiths, cautioned the trend would not continue indefinitely. He added there were unknowns that could affect the market such as an escalation in the ongoing international trade wars. He added farmers could expect another good year. Branded health foods based on New Zealand velvet had transformed in the Korean market. He noted the establishment of a similar product category in China was a priority for the industry. Around 200 tonnes of the expected 725 produced in the 2018/19 harvest would go to companies selling high-value branded products in South Korea. DINZ was working with Chinese regulatory agencies to provide a clear pathway for imports of New Zealand velvet to manufacturers in China.