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每日跟讀#581: Sheep Farmers in New Zealand Adapt to Changing Tastes

羊肉勝羊毛 紐西蘭面臨調適

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English
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每日跟讀#581: Sheep Farmers in New Zealand Adapt to Changing Tastes

ST. ANDREWS, New Zealand — About three decades ago, when Andrew Fraser began raising sheep, wool was among the star exports of this nation. Its other sheep products — lamb and mutton — were supporting actors.

約30年前傅瑞澤開始養羊時,羊毛是紐西蘭的明星出口品,其他綿羊產品如羔羊肉和羊肉只是配角。

Today, the situation is reversed. New Zealand’s sheep meat exports are up, while wool faces intensifying competition from synthetic fibers. Although sheep farming is still enmeshed in the fabric of New Zealand’s cultural identity, it is another economic activity that this nation is retooling for a globalized world.

如今情勢逆轉,紐西蘭羊肉出口增加,羊毛卻面臨人造纖維日益激烈的競爭。雖然養羊這種經濟活動仍與紐西蘭的文化認同緊密交織,但紐西蘭正在調整它,以適應全球化的世界。

“Wool has traditionally been — and still is — a very good product,” Mr. Fraser said. “The trouble is that now, a similar product can be manufactured out of used Coke bottles and all sorts of stuff.

傅瑞澤說:「羊毛一向是,也仍然是很棒的產品,問題是現在可用廢可樂罐和各種東西做出類似產品。」

From 1982 to 2011, New Zealand’s sheep population declined to 31.1 million from 70.2 million, according to government data, as many sheep pastures were converted to dairy farms or other uses. The roughly 17,000 sheep farmers who remain still earn money from selling the fleece of their animals. But on many sheep farms, meat has replaced wool as the primary profit maker.

官方資料顯示1982到2011年紐西蘭綿羊從7020萬隻降到3110萬,許多牧羊場轉養乳牛或改作他途。現在大概還有1.7萬羊農,雖仍賣羊毛賺錢,許多養羊場羊肉卻已取代羊毛成為最大財源。

Since 1990, the value of New Zealand’s annual exports of raw wool and manufactured wool products has declined to about $700 million from $1.2 billion, according to government data. By contrast, lamb and mutton exports have increased almost threefold to $2.3 billion. And dairy exports, worth $1.9 billion in 1992, have soared to $14.1 billion.

官方資料顯示,1990年以來每年羊毛和羊毛製品的出口額,從12億美元減為7億美元;羔羊肉和羊肉年出口額卻增為23億美元,幾乎是原來的三倍,乳製品出口額也從1992年的19億美元大增為141億。

New Zealand, with 4.4 million people, is the world’s third-largest wool producer behind Australia and China, according to Beef and Lamb New Zealand, a farmer- owned industry group. It supplies 45 percent of all carpet wool globally, the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said in a report last year.

紐西蘭牛羊肉協會(牛羊農同業組織)資料顯示,人口440萬的紐西蘭是全球第三大羊毛生產國,僅次於澳洲和中國大陸。去年澳盛銀行發布報告顯示,紐西蘭供應全球四成五的地毯用羊毛。

Yet more than 90 percent of New Zealand’s wool is exported in raw form, rather than in finished products like carpets or upholstery, leaving it vulnerable to swings in commodity markets.

不過,紐西蘭羊毛逾九成以未加工形態出口,而非做成地毯、椅套等成品,易受原物料市場價格波動影響。

Farmers said the wool industry would benefit from having a unified voice to promote New Zealand wool abroad as a highend fiber that, in their view, beats synthetic alternatives in several categories, including overall quality and environmental sustainability. Having a single voice could help the industry reach beyond China, its primary export market by far, into relatively untapped markets like the United States.

許多羊農希望羊毛業團結起來,向海外宣傳紐西蘭羊毛是高檔纖維,在整體品質與促進環境永續發展等好幾個方面,(他們認為)都勝過人造纖維,這樣一定有幫助。一旦有統一的聲音,羊毛業就能在目前最大出口市場中國大陸以外,打入美國等相對未開發的市場。

But New Zealand’s wool industry is viewed as highly fragmented. There were 35 wool exporters operating across the country last year, “a huge level of decentralization” given the industry’s relatively modest export earnings, the Banking Group reported.

外界卻認為紐西蘭羊毛業分散得厲害。澳盛銀行指出,去年紐西蘭全國有35個羊毛出口業者,由於出口獲利相當微薄,這個產業可說是「極度分散」。

“Everyone’s sort of undercutting each other,” said Ross Andrews, a South Island farmer who earns around $3 a kilogram for his carpet-grade wool.

南島羊農安德魯斯出售地毯級羊毛,每公斤約賺3美元,他說:「每個人多少都在削價競爭。」

Wool growers long assumed that their industry would somehow look after itself, but there is now a clear need to promote wool over synthetic fibers, said Sandra Faulkner, an industry advocate. According to an industry group, Beef and Lamb New Zealand, wool accounts for 1.3 percent of global fiber production and synthetics 61.4 percent.

行銷紐西蘭羊毛的桑德拉.福克納說,羊農一直以為羊毛業終究會挺過難關,不過現在真的有必要宣傳羊毛比人造纖維好。紐西蘭牛羊肉協會資料顯示,羊毛只占全球纖維產量1.3%,人造纖維卻占61.4% 。

“It’s about identifying ourselves in the luxury marketplace, which is where we’ve always belonged,” Ms. Faulkner said.

福克納說:「我們要立足於精品市場,我們本來就屬於那裡。」

Peter Lyon, the supervisor of a South Island shearing team, said farmers’ views on how the wool industry should evolve typically depend on factors like whether they have reliable export contractors, the quality of wool they produce and their level of debt.

南島剪羊毛團隊督導里昂說,羊農對於羊毛業何去何從的看法,常取決於某些因素,如他們有沒有可靠的出口貿易公司、生產羊毛的品質和債務的多寡。

In the mid-20th century, wool growers were often “asset-rich and cash-poor,” Mr. Lyon said . “But you can’t afford to be cashpoor today or you’ll get thrown out. ”

里昂說,20世紀中期羊農經常「資產多,現金少」,「但在這個時代,你不能沒現金,否則很難生存」。

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/268494/web/

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