Strong start to the year for red meat exports

Exports of red meat and offal from the UK have enjoyed a strong start to the year with shipments surpassing 300,000 tonnes – up 13 per cent on 2018.

According to the latest HMRC figures, more than £711 million worth of beef, lamb and pork products were shipped around the world in the first six months of the year. This is a rise of eight per cent compared to last year, when red meat exports stood at £658 million.

Figures show exports of pork and pig meat products rose from 166,000 to 183,000 tonnes, worth £268 million – an increase of 15 per cent. Almost half of the shipments were to non-EU third-country markets.

The prevailing African Swine Fever situation has driven demand for imported pork across the Asian region, and particularly in China. From January to June, the UK saw shipments increase by 56 per cent to 57,000 tonnes, representing 35 per cent of total UK pig meat exports.

Total beef and beef offal exports have risen by 13 per cent to 86,000 tonnes. Beef volumes increased by nearly 11 per cent, while the rise in beef offal exports was more marked at 21 per cent. 

Sheep meat exports grew by 24 per cent in the first half of 2019 to 47,000 tonnes, driven by EU markets, with shipments increasing by 25 per cent. 

AHDB’s Head of Asia Pacific Jonathan Eckley said: “It has been a very strong start to the year for our red meat exports with growth across all three categories. The low sterling value has undoubtedly been a driving factor and higher pork shipments have been driven by demand from China, which continues to be an important market for the UK.

“While it’s unclear at present what impact Brexit will have on the EU market for UK red meat exports, AHDB will continue to look at new markets outside of the EU and aim to build on these impressive figures for the foreseeable future.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.