NBA issues levy export plea
The National Beef Association (NBA) has called for the new Eblex levy to aim at increasing the English beef export markets and to concentrate on its health benefits.
The appeal comes as the organisation plans on increasing its levy for the first time in 10 years.
However, the NBA warned that it did expect resistance to raising export sales from “some British supermarkets”.
Kim Haywood, NBA director, said: “We have said we are pleased at the decision to set aside new funds aimed at increasing exports to 20% of English production by the end of next year – and that a man of the calibre of Jean-Pierre Garnier is overseeing this task.
“This is because the sale of more beef outside the domestic market is of fundamental importance to the income starved English beef sector, which is dominated by a highly consolidated group of powerful domestic retailers and the equally tight group of large processors, which supply them”.
“However, we would like to know more about Eblex plans to overcome the resistance to raising export sales we expect from some British supermarkets, and it will also be reassuring to know how Eblex expects to persuade processors to set up an export sales portfolio knowing that their investment could once again be smashed by a disease outbreak, or the risk of bad debt.”
Haywood also called for the levy body to use targeted promotion of beef as part of a balanced diet.
She added: “There is a huge difference between broad based promotion, which Eblex can no longer afford, and a focused campaign on the relatively simple food nutrition messages that eating beef on a regular basis improves personal health because it is not just high in protein, it also contains a battery of minerals, trace elements and vitamins as well as the highly beneficial Omega 3s.”
Eblex has extended the deadline for its consultation into the proposed rise until today, 12 January, after the industry was hit by severe before and during the Christmas period. If the levy charges are agreed in England, the new rates from 11 April would be £5.40 per head of cattle and £0.80 per head of sheep.