Pig Exports hit £160m

A big push to recover global markets - and build new ones - has resulted in an impressve increase in the UK's pork exports over the last year.

A big push to recover global markets - and build new ones - has resulted in an impressive increase in the UK's pork exports over the last year.

The UK's pigmeat exports suffered a setback following the 2007 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, but the industry has since made concerted efforts to recover old markets and establish new ones.

The latest figures from BPEX suggest that the hard work is starting to pay off, with exports of fresh and frozen pork up 20% over the last year and bacon exports up from 12,000 tonnes to more than 33,000 tonnes. Exports of offal saw an 18% rise, hitting nearly 19,000 tonnes. Nearly 40% of offals went the Netherlands, while 30% went to Hong Kong.

The value of the UK's exports increased even more significantly, with fresh and frozen pork worth 42% more - an extra 33m - and offals worth 63% more.

BPEX chief executive Mick Sloyan said: "These impressive figures show that although sow carcase exports increased, the biggest rise was recorded for prime pork cuts. This is particularly encouraging following the restrictions put in place during the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2007. It also demonstrates the value of the Export Recovery Programme, conducted by Defra and BPEX in early 2008, particularly for pork offal which was an important element of the programme.

"Exports are vital to the industry, which is why BPEX is keen to expand the number of markets into which we sell. They have a very important role in adding value to both producers and processors. With the value of sterling more competitive compared with the euro and other currencies, we hope to see further growth in exports in 2009."

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