Lamb industry looks forward despite unpredictable year

Despite international struggles impacting the lamb industry, the global marketplace continues to hold the key to Welsh farming’s long-term prosperity. That’s according to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) operations manager Prys Morgan.

At a recent conference, Morgan told delegates: “We’ve had to put up with low exchange rates that have hammered our exports, while facilitating a flood of cheap imports from New Zealand that have hacked at lamb prices for most of the summer and autumn.

“The market has been saturated at times by over-supply and, on top of the supermarket trade battles, we have seen adjustments on farmgate returns that have minimised the percentages of producer payments that come from products on the shelves.”

He highlighted that even though HCC has been promoting PGI Welsh Lamb products, they have seen other brands take up more shelf space simply because they are cheaper.

Morgan claimed that the same global issues that were the cause of problems for the industry this season could actually lead to profitability in the days without subsidy.

“Our work is opening new markets, and in supplying more of our products to our established export territories, will build to provide a platform to shore up prices even when the vagaries of exchange rates and supply have an impact.

“Every day the world becomes a smaller place and we have more in common. There are plenty of wealthy people in the world and part of the joy of disposable income is eating the best lamb in the world.

“HCC, with our processors and producers, have an essential role to play in opening new markets and directing those markets to the great taste of PGI Welsh Lamb – and the supermarkets have a key role to play in protecting supply sources to make sure they have products to sell in this future landscape.”

Also presented were the results of HCC’s summer and autumn marketing campaign. This included a touring mobile billboard, a cooking demonstration roadshow and strong PR and social media activity.

Furthermore, an HCC television competition had been widely praised for helping consumer opinions, as well as reinforcing key marketing messages in regards to the provenance, quality and taste of PGI Welsh Lamb. 

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