MPI director-general Ray Smith says it’s challenging for rural communities at the moment, and may be for the next year, but the outlook for the country’s products remains bright. The Chinese economy has been slow to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic, and global prices for New Zealand’s biggest primary sector exports have fallen sharply which is putting pressure on farm profits and making breaking even a challenge. Ray Smith says it’s difficult for companies, for farmers and growers and while New Zealand but overall export growth is still pretty positive. Food and fibre sector export revenue rose 8% to a record $57.4 billion to the end of June up 24% since 2019. It’s forecast to slide 2% to $56.2b in the coming year but then grow again to reach $62b by 2027 He is confident prices will come back that the demand will resume and he hopes farmers don’t go out of business, and that banks and other financial institutions will look through this period.