Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Exports vital role for the sheep meat sector

Exports remain a cornerstone of AHDB Beef & Lamb’s work in helping maximising returns and managing global market volatility for the sheep meat sector. This week’s guest blogger, AHDB Beef & Lamb Export Manager Jean-Pierre Garnier, showcases a new report that underlines the importance of making the most of export opportunities in both EU and non-EU markets.

Maximising opportunities for sheep meat with EU markets and developing more for fifth quarter products for sheep meat outside the EU will play a vital role in maximising returns and managing market volatility as we move forwards in 2016 and beyond.

This has been highlighted in the World Sheep Meat Market to 2025 report which we’ve produced in conjunction with the International Meat Secretariat (IMS). While outlining the positive long-term prospects for UK and global sheep meat exports, the report stresses how UK export competitiveness will remain a key issue for the future of the industry.

The UK is an important player in the world sheep meat market. It is by far the largest producer in Europe and the third largest exporter worldwide. The great strides made in exports of sheep meat and the launch of the AHDB Exports brand at the Anuga trade show, in Cologne, last year underlined the organisation’s commitment to competing on the global stage. The World Sheep Meat Market to 2025 report is about examining the dynamics of the world sheep meat markets and foreseeing the factors in the international trade likely to affect our sheep sector over the next few years.

Although we rely heavily on the European market, equally important will be the continuation of our strategy to export products for which there is little or no demand domestically and elsewhere in Europe to markets where they are valued. Typically, these products are in greater demand in a number of non-EU countries where we have either secured market access or are working hard to do so. This will help maximise use of the carcase and thus maximise returns for the UK supply chain.
It’s important to keep the momentum going and we will again maintain a strong presence at this year’s key industry events and shows around the world where we can showcase our homegrown produce and livestock on the global stage.

Shows in 2016 include Gulfood – the world's biggest annual food and hospitality show – in Dubai, next month, where we will be joined by exporters to highlight UK lamb to key foodservice players from the region. February will also see AHDB Beef & Lamb at SIA, the Paris Agricultural Show. Other key events this year include SIAL in Paris in October – the world’s largest food innovation exhibition. In addition to planned inward trade missions and overseas missions with exporters, 2016 promises again to be a busy year in terms of developing further opportunities for UK sheep meat exports.

Production developments, which in turn will be influenced by producer profitability, will continue to impact on export availability. Importantly, producers will keep a keen eye on currency movements with a correction of the overvalued Sterling well overdue. Ultimately, however, the UK is in a good position long term to increase its trade both within and outside of the EU. Conclusions drawn in the World Sheep Meat Market to 2025 underline this and we look forward to making further progress with our export strategy to help the UK compete on the global stage as we start 2016.

The World Sheep Market Report to 2025 can be found in the Corporate Publications section of the AHDB Beef & Lamb website

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