Mentor scheme to boost UK food exporters launched

A new mentorship programme to help UK farmers and food producers boost their exports has been launched by the Department for International Trade (DIT).

The programme, run in partnership with Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), and the National Farmers Union (NFU), will match experienced exporters with businesses who are looking to export for the first time.

The programme will represent farmers and food producers from across the UK, with mentors giving practical help and advice to would-be exporters through roundtables, mentoring sessions and newsletters.

The government’s mentor programme will work in close partnership with the industry and give farmers and producers the tools and knowledge they need to start selling their produce internationally. The first round of unpaid mentors will focus on diary and red meat, with seafood and packaged/processed food mentoring programmes to follow later in the year.

Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, said the new mentor programme will match experienced exporters with our farmers and food producers to help them open more doors to the fastest-growing consumer markets.

Ms Truss said: “UK farmers are at the heart of our trade policy, and we are working in lockstep with partners like the AHDB, the NFU to unleash our global exporting potential and fly the flag for British food and drink.

“We’re seizing new opportunities around the world as an independent trading nation in huge markets such as Australia while paving the way to prosperity across the UK.

Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, said they wanted to make sure new businesses were following in the footsteps of those who are already exporting successfully: “Businesses which export are more innovative, more productive and pay higher wages. Our agri-mentoring scheme will create more of them and it’s wonderful that industry leaders like Mary Quickes are volunteering to ensure that our trade deals are converted into more trading success.

AHDB international market development director Dr Phil Hadley added: “This scheme allows businesses to share their expertise and knowledge with would-be exporters and equip them with the tools they need to sell their products around the world. It will provide huge benefits to UK farmers who work tirelessly to produce high quality food whilst also allowing mentors to help shape new exporters to meet the growing global demand for British agriculture.”


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