i) Proposed lift on USA lamb ban welcome news for industry
The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has welcomed news that the long standing ban on importing Welsh lamb into the United States is to be lifted soon. The announcement was made by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday 22 September.
The FUW has long discussed the prospect of lifting the unjustified ban with the USDA in various meetings over the past decades. Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales have highlighted that the potential market for PGI Welsh Lamb in the USA is estimated to be worth as much as £20 million a year within five years of the export restrictions being removed.
Now more than ever it is important to explore other export markets while also protecting long established markets in Europe. The news that this ban could soon be lifted is most welcome news for the UK sheep industry.
ii) UK cheese exports up by 17 percent
Latest HMRC figures suggest that UK cheese exports totalled 2,300 tonnes in the first three months of 2021, a 17 percent increase on 2020.
While Brexit has disrupted cheese exports to the EU, exports to New Zealand, Australia and South Korea increased by 26, 3 and over 200 percent respectively during the first quarter.
However, total UK dairy exports were down during the same period compared with 2020 due to high domestic demand from consumers and the shut down of foodservice outlets on the continent.
iii) UK Government plans to support food exports
Announced on Back British Farming Day 2021, the UK Government plans to support businesses who export UK food and drink through a new initiative set to be launched later this year.
The initiative will include appointing agri-food representatives to work towards accessing new export markets, establishing a Food and Drink Exports Council to work on the export strategy alongside the devolved nations and engaging with farmers and producers to ensure that they benefit from new market opportunities.