A boost in the values of sheep meat exports offset lower volumes in 2020
Emerging markets and overseas retailers helped boost the value of sheep meat exports in 2020 despite
a drop in volumes as the pandemic hit.
According to HMRC, UK sheepmeat exports increased in value by almost 10 per cent despite dropping 7.2 per cent in volume to 88,200 tonnes.
However, both the value and volume of exports were up on 2018 figures.
The amount of sheep meat imported into the UK fell by 6.6 per cent to total 58,500 tonnes as New Zealand cut back due to Covid-19, drought and increased demand from Asia.
A shift in demand also led to decreased exports of beef, down
by 13.8 per cent in volume or 17.3 per cent in value.
Glesni Phillips, data analyst at Hybu Cig Cymru, said the pandemic caused considerable disruption with a cutback in French exports the main driver for the fall in volumes, due to reduced demand for foodservice.
She said: “However, export volumes to the Middle East increased by 18.3 per cent while value also shot up by
37.4 per cent, with Welsh processors leading the way.
“There was also an increase of 27.7 per cent in volume sent to Italy, again with Welsh Lamb securing important new business in the retail sector.”
Beef exports were also interrupted by the pandemic as well as high prices making exports less competitive but imports from Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland dropped.