Patagonian lamb sales surge

The first visit to Wales made by a governor from the province of Chubut in Patagonia coincided with a recent significant growth in global exports of Patagonian lamb.

The governor, Mario Das Neves also paid a visit to IFE07 in London, where the group from Patagonia wanted to learn more about trade issues.

The minister of international trade, tourism and investment, Dr Martin Buzzi, told MTJ at IFE that the aim of the visit to Wales was to learn more about Welsh politics and culture.

He said that, since 2002, world exports of Patagonian lamb had soared from 2,500t to 10,000t and attributed this to the increased certification of the meat.

According to HM Customs and Excise, in 2006, Argentina exported 1,186t of lamb and is the seventh provider to the UK.

Estanislao Zawels, head of the economic and trade section of the Argentine Embassy said most of the lamb came from the Province of Santa Cruz and, in Chubut, there were two abattoirs authorised to export to the EU.

Buzzi said:"Patagonian lamb is internationally certified meat from an area free from 12 diseases, including foot & mouth and BSE.The challenge now is to grow this figure and sustain a product that is different in the market, environmentally friendly and with certification."

Buzzi said Patagonian lamb was known for its low cholesterol content and low-fat muscle content.

"These two qualities of Patagonian lamb are very well received by international trade," he added.

He said the long standing relationship between Wales/Britain and Patagonia was still strong and dated back to the 1860s when the Welsh first settled in the country.

The governor said he had enjoyed his visit to Wales and England. While in Wales he said he had seen some similarities between the country and his own province, Chubut.

"While we were visting to the coal mines we saw sheep everywhere just like home and it was windy and snowing just like home," he said.

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