UK bullish on beef exports

The value of UK beef exports rose by 25% to £321m in 2010, according to the latest export figures from Eblex.

Volumes increased to over 100,000 tonnes for the first time since 1995 while non-EU markets open to UK beef increased significantly during the second half of last year. This highlights the success of the Eblex export strategy's focus on market access – almost 30 markets are now available to exporters. As a result exports of fifth-quarter products to non-EU markets rose sharply by 53% on 2009.

Sheep meat exports were constrained in 2010, due to tight domestic supplies, falling by 7% in volume terms to 89,000 tonnes. However, the value of these exports rose by 1% to £320m, driven by a wider, global tightening of supplies.

The Eblex ‘cuts not carcases’ strategy, aimed at adding value at home, saw the export of bone-in and boneless lamb cuts rise by 25% on 2009. Non-EU fifth-quarter exports also rose significantly by 65% year on year.

Defra’s decision this week to endorse Eblex’s £2m investment plan will see Eblex working to maintain sheep meat exports at a minimum 30% of production, while increasing beef exports to 20% of production by 2012.

Peter Hardwick, Eblex head of trade development, said: “Developing export markets is essential if we are to realise a sustainable price for English beef and sheep producers.

“Creating greater demand for our product overseas will help improve returns in the beef and sheep meat sectors, in addition to adding value to the carcase by providing an outlet for less-utilised cuts and offal.”


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