Asia and the Middle East have helped boost red meat exports from the UK following a challenging start to the year, with Brexit and Covid impacting shipments of beef, lamb and pork to Europe.
According to AHDB, whilst exports of beef to non-EU countries have dropped, shipments of pig meat, including offal, have risen in both volume and value, increasing 31 per cent to 63,000 tonnes, worth over £110 million – up 42 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Sheep exports to non-EU countries also rose 30 per cent in volume and 46 per cent in value, worth £6.6 million to the sector.
AHDB Head of Asia Pacific Jonathan Eckley said the Far East remains a key market for red meat exports from the UK, and AHDB is continuing to identify opportunities in new and existing markets to help boost trade.
He added: “The start of the year has been incredibly challenging for our red meat exports and while the third country demand has helped to boost trade, it hasn’t been able to offset the fall in shipments to the EU.
“However, the Asian markets have once again proven to be hugely important for our exports. While some countries are importing smaller volumes from the UK, the overall value is increasing for example Singapore, which has this year seen an 87 per cent increase in the value of our pork shipments.”
Demand for UK pork was also evident in the Philippines with the value of shipments increasing four-fold compared to the same period last year – bringing a £10 million boost to the sector. Exports to South Korea also grew and were valued at £2.5 million.
Sheep exports, including offal, to Kuwait increased ten-fold in the first three months of the year, and shipments to Ghana more than doubled.
Mr Eckley added: “Despite the challenges we face due to Brexit and Covid, AHDB continues to have a virtual presence at trade shows and networking events across Asia, in a bid to build relationships between our exporters and key influencers.”