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Red meat exports could see more positive year following difficult 2015

With the pound falling considerably, experts have delivered a more positive outlook for red meat exports in 2016


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Beef and sheep exports could be set for a more positive year after low prices and a strong pound hampered 2015.

 

With the pound at a seven-year low on Wednesday, there are hopes exports may rise throughout 2016.

 

Exports continue to play an important role in delivering maximum carcase value and the global agricultural sector is increasingly looking further afield in where it markets goods.

 

EU Commission figures for last year showed agri-food exports from EU countries to ‘third countries’, those outside the EU, increased 6 per cent to a record £100.65 billion.

 

But UK red meat struggled and the value of exports fell last year.

 

Jean-Pierre Garnier, AHDB export manager, said: “This year we expect to more than recover the lost ground in value. [We also expect to] increase volume and value. It is an exciting area and, after a difficult 2015, this year looks good.”

 

Mr Garnier said AHDB was continuing to look at new markets for red meat.

 

“We are having missions to China and a mission to India, as well as Canada and Africa,” he said.

 

Mr Garnier suggested the EU still played an important role for UK meat exports.

 

“We must not forget the EU is a fair market in value terms. We are pushing central Europe for lamb. We are better set now sterling is cheaper.”

 

National Sheep Association (NSA) chief executive Phil Stocker also noted the importance of export markets for lamb.

 

He said: “There are the exports of premium cuts, including legs, loins and shoulders, which already have well established markets, but the US is a big area of opportunity.”

 

The opening of the Chinese market for UK beef and lamb has been a subject followed closely by the farming community in recent years.

 

“China is still on the agenda,” said Mr Stocker. “It has not performed as well as people predicted a year ago, but there are still opportunities for high quality, high value products into a wealthy segment of the market.

 

“There is the whole fifth quarter market. In terms of optimising value it is important for us.”


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