Ulster Farmers’ Union beef and lamb chairman, Crosby Cleland, says confirmation that Kuwait will be importing sheep meat from the UK is encouraging news for producers, however if the UK government wants a thriving sheep industry after Brexit more action is needed to expand our export market portfolio.
“The return of Kuwait as a lamb buyer is welcome and it is encouraging that three major UK processors are already preparing shipments. The Middle East is one of the biggest sheep meat consuming regions in the world and it is positive that AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) is reporting a high level of interest from Kuwaiti importers, following the Gulfood exhibition in Dubai,” said Mr Cleland.
The sheep industry is a sector facing particular uncertainties because of Brexit. This reflects its reliance on the EU market and makes it vital that exports beyond the EU grow, if farmers are to be part of a viable industry in the future.
“New markets for beef and lamb must be a key objective for the government. We know that there is good demand in our existing markets for certain cuts of meat and weaker demand for other cuts. At certain times this can present carcase balance issues and affects the overall value of the carcase,” said Mr Cleland. He said to counter these issues it is very important that DEFRA increases efforts to secure access to new markets. “Success in doing so will play a key role in boosting agri-food, which is the UK’s biggest manufacturing industry,” said Mr Cleland.