Strengthening and creating new export markets must be seen as a prized opportunity rather than a ‘potential dumping ground’ and the UK may require a different mindset if it is to achieve further growth overseas.
AHDB chief strategy officer Tom Hind made the comments as he launched the levy board’s latest Horizon document, which laid out its recent successes and future plans for key exporting sectors as Brexit draws closer.
“Although identifying our export potential is not new, both industry and government need to take stock of their approach,” said Mr Hind.
“The UK is not the only country with a good story to tell. We are often behind the curve in exploiting markets compared to past masters like the Danes and Irish.
“What may be seen as a by-product at home may be high value to another consumer – we need to treat it as such. The UK is far from the most competitive exporter and our scale is small, therefore identifying and exploiting niches is critical.”
The board’s international market development director Phil Hadley said the UK had received ‘encouraging noises’ regarding reapprovals for pork in the US and South Korea and approvals for pigmeat for the first time in Taiwan.
In Mauritius, the UK had recently agreed a beef certificate for the high end food service trade – a move which would satisfy demand from ‘big spend’ holidaymakers.
Dr Hadley said: “While we must protect EU markets we are trying to expand our reach into other non-EU countries. There is a heightened urgency given the uncertainty over EU markets.”