Exports have become the lifeblood of the red meat industry in the UK with new markets constantly being sought and developed.
For example they are worth £33 a pig and beef and lamb fifth quarter exports continue to perform strongly – up 53% year on year again driven by non EU exports which are more than 200% higher.
The focus of the work is now outside the EU into markets where there is great scope either to open it up to trade or develop and widen the range of products we sell.
AHDB Beef and Lamb, together with AHDB Pork, have a number of joint ventures, particularly in China.
AHDB international manager Peter Hardwick said: “Exports are crucial for red meat. We already have market access for pork to China but there is scope to develop that, not only for fifth quarter but also for higher value cuts.
“We are working with the Chinese to gain access for beef and lamb, though we are also looking at the USA and Japan for beef and adding value in the more mature markets for lamb.”
As far as pig meat goes, exports now amount to 28% of production, Greater China is the number one destination and there are strong markets elsewhere, outside the EU, with pig meat +9% and offal +56% in 2014.
Beef exports are 7% higher, year on year with non-EU exports having doubled over the same period.
Beef and lamb fifth quarter exports continue to perform strongly – 53% up year on year, again driven by non EU exports which are more than 200% higher.
Peter said: “These markets offer significantly improved returns for parts of the carcase which have a low structural demand on the domestic market. Outside China, our targets for pork are Australia for cooked product and India.”
To achieve all this, there is a great deal of work going on behind the scenes. For example AHDB agreed to part-fund the appointment of an agricultural attache at our embassy in Beijing.
AHDB is also involved in working with Defra to increase not only the range of products exported but also the number of plants approved to export.
Peter said: “We aim to work across the sectors because red meat exports can be delivered as a common initiative due to shared marketing channels. Other sectors of AHDB can also benefit from the expertise we have built up but their routes to market may well be different.
“The amount of resource devoted to exports has been increased over the years and that is now bearing fruit, though there is still much to do and many more gains to be made in terms of volume, value and the range of products offered.”