The challenges and opportunities of exporting meat to third countries was explored at an Industry Engagement Workshop in Warwickshire this week.
The event was organised by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in conjunction with Defra and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to look at some of the key issues affecting the livestock sector as the UK grows its export ambitions.
A total of 23 representatives from a mix of processors, traders and industry bodies attended the workshop held at AHDB’s headquarters in Stoneleigh on Wednesday.
Its aim was to see what lessons can be learned to assure the export stream and look at how industry can work with government to ensure the highest quality of UK exports.
UK Chief veterinary officer Professor Nigel Gibbens, who opened the event, highlighted the importance of working together following an intense run of inward inspections both to protect existing meat markets and progress access to new markets.
He said: “It has been great to see leaders from across the livestock sectors, from processors to traders, come together at this event to consider how best to assure the quality of our products for the future.
“Exports of animals and animal products are crucially important to the UK economy and our thriving livestock sectors. In 2016, we exported £8.1 billion worth of agricultural products and in recent years we have opened up many new markets.”
Professor Gibbens also highlighted the recent successes for exports, which included a new deal to export meat to the Philippines, agreements for UK bovine genetics to Bolivia, Columbia and Ecuador and a deal to export breeding pigs to India.
The workshop also included presentations and talks from the FSA on compliance with legal requirements and observing best practice and Cranswick Plc about preparation and planning for third country visits.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency also discussed ways to safeguard the meat supply chain for exports – highlighting both animal and public health risks as key issues.
AHDB’s international market development director Dr Phil Hadley said: “The event highlighted the growing significance of UK exports to global markets and the ambition to grow further export of the very highest quality. Key to this is high production standards and attention to detail to ensure we build upon our reputation across the world.”