UK sheep delegation visits China

Representatives from the British sheep industry are visiting China to explore possible export opportunities to the country.

The trip, organised by Eblex, will see Jean-Pierre Garnier, Eblex export manager, and Chris Lloyd, Eblex industry development manager, alongside Charles Sercombe, chairman of the National Farmers’ Union’s Livestock Board, and Phil Stocker, president of the National Sheep Association (NSA), visit farming and sheep breeding companies as well as farms, abattoirs and markets in the inner Mongolian region.

“Wages are rising by 13% a year and demand for lamb is expected to hit one million tonnes by 2020. The potential is significant if we can secure market access and English producers and processors will be the big winners,” said Lloyd.

“We do need to properly understand the Chinese sheep sector and its current supply chain to see where our own producers could fit in and how that would be best achieved.

“For instance, with lamb production being cyclical, there may be periods where their supply is shorter and that it something we may be able to capitalise on.”

Britain already exports lamb to the Far East, but access to mainland China would be hugely beneficial, Lloyd explained:

“The Far East is already the second-largest export market for lamb, after France, even without access to mainland China, which may still be several years away.

“While China is undoubtedly an important destination for many fifth-quarter products, for which there is no domestic market, with the changing demographic of the population, there is also opportunity in the high-end market, with quality-assured products.

“We are delighted to have been invited here to learn more and there are clear benefits for the whole industry back in the UK.”

Read our recent export feature here

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