Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Export conference highlights opportunities for beef and lamb

There were many take-out messages from yesterday’s eighth annual EBLEX Export Conference but the main one has to be the huge potential for beef and lamb in the global market.

Importantly, following some recent ill-informed comments in certain quarters of the media which have painted a jaded picture of the beef and lamb export market, it also underlined the work EBLEX has already been doing to open new markets to the 100-plus delegates at the event.

Adding Third Country markets to open up new trading routes and so spread the risk of any significant fall off in trading in the EU has been a focus of EBLEX for nearly two years now. It has led to the opening up more than 50 new non-EU markets by providing the support services, funding and drive to keep things moving.

Over this time, we have seen a 150% increase in beef exports and a 193% increase in sheep meat exports to non-EU markets.  Recent developments have included resuming bone-in beef to Hong Kong. Beef rib cuts and other specified bone-in products, except vertebral column cuts, from cattle less than 30 months old can now be exported to Hong Kong. Boneless beef from cattle of all ages is already exported there. It is part of a staged approach agreed with the Hong Kong authorities which will in time also see the market open to 5th quarter products, and is certainly encouraging news.

This week’s conference also showcased some of the other ongoing work on the export front, particularly focusing on Africa. EBLEX export manager Jean-Pierre Garnier outlined the clear opportunities there, citing the increasing gap between rising population and food demand. Adding that the UK is well placed to supply cheap proteins due to historical links and logistics, the opportunities for beef and lamb exports to Africa are clear for all to see. Delegates were also given a useful insight into specific details of trading with Ghana and Angola.

A similar picture was painted in the Far East market, with increasing per capita consumption in China, in particular, and the growing gap between consumption and domestic meat production. Increasing our in-market presence will potentially pay dividends in the long-term and, again, this is something we are working hard to achieve.

It was good to see so many representatives from across the industry attending the conference, all working towards a common goal. The bottom line is that we have a quality product to sell. The good work has begun.  Now is the time to build on this to ensure our continued export success.

  • Presentations from the conference can be downloaded from the EBLEX website by clicking here.