global outlook

I cannot remember trade being so difficult and it is not just here in the UK. Our friends right across Europe are finding that although demand is down, the prices on many items are not softening. In the UK, exchange rates are not in our favour.

This situation will inevitably prevail during most of 2010 and it would be foolish to think otherwise. Uncertainty in so many areas here is affecting the way consumers are spending with some notable exceptions!

Other countries in the EU seem to have just turned the corner and the international traders may be having more success there, but it is all relative and the halcyon days for many are very much 'on hold'.

Predictions for EU production continue to fall and the need for imports to balance the market will be finally recognised. The World Food Summit has defined the term "food security" in the broadest sense. It declared that this would be achieved when all people at all times have sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. Imports, exports and domestic production all have a role to play; they provide options and alternatives in times of unpredictability.

No doubt the various pressure groups will be even more vocal in their bashing of the meat-eating habit. They don't miss a trick and we have got to raise our game as an industry to combat this.

Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and iron, selenium and zinc. Our scientists recognise that large sections of the public would be at risk if meat intake were to be reduced. The fact is that to sustain nutrition levels for our total population, we need the imports to keep meat affordable.

Liz Murphy, Director

International Meat Trade Association

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