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OUR MEAT AND BUTTER EXPORTS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2063, 14 February 1889
OUR MEAT AND BUTTER EXPORTS.
I - - c Our Oamarn evening contemporary — the " Mail"— -in its issue of Monday last has an article and a series of paragraphs on the subject of the New Zealand export of frozen meat and butter, which contain much useful information and some valuable hints which we paste on to those of our readers who are interested m the production of mutton or the manufacture of dairy produce. Taking the subject of frozen meat first m order, attention is drawn to the fact that this colony is fast becoming one of the most important sources of supply for the United Kingdom, the increasing volume of the trade being almost phenomenal m its progress, as will be seen by a comparison of the figures representing the shipments for 1883 and 1885 respectively. In the former year New Zealand exported 72,000 cwt., whereas m 1887 the total was 399,000 cwt, an enormous advance for fire yeare. With the objeot of showing the effect of the trade upon the live stock impor tations into England, a recent circular on the frozen meat trade gives the numbers of the latter imported for food. These are— lßß3 : cattle, 471,750 ; sheep, 1,11 6,1 1 5. For 1887 the imports were : cattle, 295,961 ; sheep, 971,404. For the year 1887 the percentage of New Zealand (frozen mutton to the total imports of beef and mutton was equal to 60 per cent The circular points out that while the population of Great Britain is steadily increasing at the rate of 1 per cent, per annunr, the aggregate live stock has decreased at the rate of about 3 per cent But it must be \ remembered that New Zealand has many . competitors, more or less formidable, for the supply of the Home market, and it* - therefore behoves New Zealand shippers | to take care to keep up the quality of the article supplied. It is, however, asserted that "on the whole the quality of New Zealand shipments has tended • to deteriorate, while the quality of River Plate has tended to improve year by year. The average of the former has steadily fallen away from about 701bs (m 1883) to about 561bs, while the average weight of the latter has as steadily increased from about 401bs to about 451b5." In her rivalry for the command of the frozen meat market New Zealand cannot afford to allow the quality of her own produce to fall off, ifhile that of her competitors steadily improves, especially m view of the energy and enterprise which are displayed by the latter. Upon this point Messrs Weddel and Co., of London, m a report dated December last make the following suggestive remarks : — " New Zealand shippers must always bear m mind the fact that the River Plate is yearly increasing its output of frozen mutton, that trade being assisted by a lower charge for freight, etc., a bounty on exports, and the advantage of a rate of exchange which enables sales to be advantageously made m this country at apparently low prices. Steps are being taken there for further extension of the trade, and the results of efforts made m recent years for the improvement of the quality of shipments have not yet been fully felt." They, however, admit that "as yet the quality of New Zealand mutton is very distinctly superior to either Australian .or River Plate produce," and add that "if care be taken to preserve the advantage thus held, then there isjsvery reason to anticipate a constant growing demand for it on that account alone." On the subject of the butter export our contemporary draws attention to some important facts made public by Mr F. Humphries, a well-known Taranaki merchant, who bas been visiting Sydney, and states that until his visit to that city he was under the impression that New Zealand butter, shipped to Sydney, was really consumed m Sydney. " Such, however, (he says) is an illusion, for this reason — that the Sydney market supplies Queensland with by far its greatest consumption, and it is that colony which plays a greater part m regulating the market than New South Wales itself. True, Sydney is indirectly the produce barometer that blasts or revives the hopes of your farmers ; for this reason, that Sydney being the direct port for New Zealand boats, the large produce merchants make their headquarters there, and to which the whole j country converges as a central- produce market ; but the constant transhipments to northern ports and towns, testify to what I have already said, m regard to the consumptfop by Queensland. From what I can gather, the greater portion of New Zealand butter is transhipped to tbatj colony, whilst the New South Wales article is chiefly consumed by the city inhabitants. And it is when jabundance of rain has fallen m the northern territories that the local productions are substituted for the imported, and the latter is held on hand m chambers with a temperature of about 80deg, till all hope of disposing of it to northern customers is gone ; it is then placed on the Sydney market at a discount—of course 'represented as prime New Zealand butter." Referring to the above statements our contemporary says :— " We can readily understand that any butter, after having been sent to Queensland, perhaps, on the deck of a steamer, and m sweltering weather, would not be tempting, to say the least of it. But it must .be positively nauseating after having been sent to Queensland, kept there m a temperature of about 80 degrees ior some time, and thea shipped back again to Sydney. This ordeal, cyan Jeaving out of the question the exposure to a semi-tropical heat during the process of loading and unloading, would be enough to rain any butter. But, even when our batter has arrived m Sydney direct from this colony, it seems not to be considered good enough for the people of that city. A dealer, said to Mr Humphries, m answer to a question, * No, I never touch New Zealand butter, I deal extensively m the best New South Wales factory $ any other class is ruinous to my reputation/ This is strange. We have been flattering ourselves that our pastures are amongst the richest m the world. Why then is our . factory made butter, packed m the approved fashion and delivered into the hands of the Sydney dealer, say a week after it has left the hands of the maker, viewed with such contempt ? Mr Humphries says that ' the reputation of Taranaki butter could be sustained and the trade put on a sound basis if an agency were established m Sydney with a practical map to manage it/ An agent, acting m the interest of the New Zealand fao toriep would effect great good ii be were to dispose of fae shipments 4
ao promptly as to do away with the necessity ot transhipping so large a proportion of them to Queensland. But, if the antipathy for New Zealand batter be consequent on the inferiority of its quality when it reaches Sydney, no agent, let him never be so expert or active, conld overcome so fatal an objection. It must be overcome on this side of the water, or greater care must be 'exercised m its transport. If the butter is good when it arrives m Sydney, how does it happen that it is rejected by the Sydney people, and how does it happen that when it goes to Queensland it does not sell ? Admitting that it deteriorates on the voyage and that it is still further damaged m consequence of the hard treatment to which it is subjected after its arrival there, New South Wales butter, we suppose, has to undergo the same ordeal ; and yet, as m Bydney, New South Wales butter Beetns to be preferred to New Zealand. There is something m the method of making our butter, or m the packing, or m the method of transport, that places it at suoh a disadvantage on the other side, and it would be well if the proprietors of the factories would have the matter thoroughly investigated," That New Zealand exporters have something to learn m this matter we can readily believe, and the knowledge to be gained by the learning it will certainly pay well to acquire. And that there is no reason whatever why we should not be able to ensure the delivery of butter m any market m the world m first class condition is apparent from the fact that the butter-makers and shippers of other countries are able to accomplish that result In proof of this it may be instanced that recently at Invercargill samples of butter (the produce of different countries), exported m tins and brought out from England, were opened and tested m the presence of experts, and were found to be sweet and palatable, the Italian and Danish being selected as the best. We believe that a large amount of butter is sent to India m this way, and that market as well as the English and Australian markets is open to our producers. We were glad to see only a day or two ago a notice of the shipment of 4000 kegs of butter by one steamer, and feel satisfied that m the early future this article will bulk very largely m the list of the exports of the colony, and it is therefore of the greatest possible, moment that every effort should be made by producers and shippers to secure and maintain a high reputation, ! and consequently the command of the highest market values. .
OUR MEAT AND BUTTER EXPORTS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2063, 14 February 1889
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