New market opens opportunities for NI sheepmeat: UFU

Farming Minister George Eustice
Farming Minister George Eustice

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has confirmed that the opening-up of the Indian market to imports of British sheepmeat will include product from Northern Ireland.

UFU beef and lamb chairman, Sam Chesney said: “The recent export deal agreed with India is good news for sheep farmers here in Northern Ireland.

“Our animals are reared to some of the highest welfare and environmental standards in the world so the Indian market can be assured it will be getting top quality sheep meat.

“There are still some administrative hurdles to clear but it is always a positive when we have the opportunity to export our quality product to new markets.”

The new agreement, which covers a range of sheep meat cuts, is expected to generate exports sales of £6 million in the next five years for sheepmeat processors throughout the UK.

The deal has been secured following a detailed process of inspections and negotiations by the UK government, working with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP).

Exporters can take advantage of the market as soon as the administrative listing process is completed and export certification is made available.

It follows a number of recent successes for UK food and drink exports, which reached a record level of £22 billion in 2017. China recently lifted its two-decade long ban on UK beef exports, while Taiwan also opened its market to British pork for the first time. Together, these agreements are estimated to represent over £300 million in the first five years alone.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP, said: “The opening of the Indian market to British lamb is further good news for our farmers and is another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink at a time when exports from the sector are at a record high.

“This latest agreement is a welcome progression in the already fruitful UK-India relationship, and I look forward to seeing British lamb on Indian tables in the near future.”

Food Minister George Eustice said: “The latest market access opening in India represents a significant win for the UK’s sheep meat producers.

“The announcement builds on the UK’s food and drink exporting success story - our well-established reputation for taste, quality and high animal welfare standards has seen our food and drink industry export at record levels in recent years.”