21 October 2017

UK could see 30 per cent lamb export boost to US

The UK could see a 30 per cent boost in lamb exports to the United States following a successful visit by the US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Mr Perdue met with Defra Secretary Michael Gove and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (EFRA) to talk farm trade last week.

Mr Perdue said it is too early to go into too much detail on future trade potential, but added British lamb could be a big winner for American consumers.

“We think probably the UK is ahead of us in lamb and sheep production. There is big demand to have access to the U.S. market in those products,” Mr Perdue told the House of Commons Committee.

Britain currently exports 38 per cent of all its sheep meat, 95 per cent of which goes to the EU in trade worth almost £400m a year.

The current US lamb import market is worth £478 million a year, but Mr Perdue’s comments will be seen as positive news for UK sheep farmers.

‘Rich seam’

According to the National Sheep Association, the UK’s sheep sector employs 34,000 people on farms and a further 111,405 jobs in allied industries, contributing a further £291.4m to the economy.

In the UK, domestic sales of lamb have been in decline among young people for some time. However, the US is undergoing a lamb renaissance, with a 10% increase in consumption over the past two years alone.

“The US is a potentially rich seam for British lamb exports,” The NFU’s chief livestock advisor John Royle told the The Daily Express.

“Consumption there is increasing, particularly in the prime quality markets. We’ve already been in talks with the likes of Whole Foods Market, the US equivalent of Waitrose, but we’ve been waiting for a concert sign that their over cautious approach to British lamb will change. The Agricultural secretary’s remarks gave us that.”

Credit to: https://www.farminguk.com/News/UK-could-see-30-per-cent-lamb-export-boost-to-US_47679.html