Latest UK export figures confirm boost for beef and lamb sectors
Trade figures for the first four months of 2022, analysed by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) as part of its latest Monthly Market Bulletin, show exports of lamb and beef from the UK increasing, as the disruptive effects of Covid on international trade eases.
For the period from January to April this year, the volume of beef and veal exports increased to 42,500 tonnes, up 57% against the same period in 2021. 24,500 tonnes of sheep meat was exported from the UK in the year to date, up 24.5%.
The figures follow on from the Welsh Government’s analysis of the country’s food exports in 2021, which showed trade hitting a record high in terms of its value to the Welsh economy, with meat leading the way.
Red meat imports into the UK are also up, although by a lower figure than the increase in exports. Beef imports in the first four months of 2022 are 24% higher than the same period last year, with sheep meat imports up by 19%. However the volume of sheep meat imports is still substantially lower compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The figures for pork run somewhat counter to the trends for beef and lamb, due to reduced demand from China as its domestic pig farming sector recovers. UK pork exports are up just 2.5% on the same period in 2021, with imports rising by 27%.
Specifically, the Welsh sector for pork is small and specialised, and largely geared to the domestic market, rather than for exports.
HCC data analyst, Glesni Phillips commented: “We saw through the pandemic that the financial value of Wales’s red meat exports continued to be robust, although the physical volume of product traded was lower due to the impact of Covid restrictions on hospitality and foodservice in key markets.
“The early data for 2022 shows that there is a firm international demand for both Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef.
“Imports are up somewhat, with an increase in beef coming into the country from Ireland, The Netherlands and Germany, reflecting the fact that the UK is not self-sufficient in beef and that domestic production is flat. There is also a rise in lamb imports from Australia, however it should be noted that the volume of imports is still lower than the long-term average, and that exports are out-performing imports, which will help support farm-gate prices in the short term.”
HCC’s Market Bulletin released at the end of June contains further analysis of the trade figures, as well as the latest news on market price trends for farmers and processors, and is available by clicking here.