Gulf trade push highlights opportunities for meat exports

A week of promotional activities for Welsh meat in Dubai has come to an end with celebrity chef Gary Rhodes cooking one of his dishes using Welsh Lamb at a St. David’s Day reception at the British Embassy.

Throughout the week, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) led an industry delegation to the Gulfood trade fair, with processors meeting with buyers and importers from across Asia. They were also joined at the trade fair and the Embassy reception by the Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM.

Chef Gary Rhodes said: “The St. David’s Day celebration at the British Embassy here in Dubai, was an opportunity to show off the rich flavours and textures of Welsh Lamb. The flavoursome nose it created whilst roasting in the pan attracted the audience’s palates, the cutlets needing only simple garnishes to compliment. The richness of culinary bites on one stage, married wonderfully with the Welsh Opera performance, each equally in depth, detail and entertainment. I felt privileged to be there.”

“This has been a busy and positive week, which has highlighted opportunities across the region,” said HCC Marketing Manager Rhys Llywelyn. “It was an opportunity for HCC and processing companies to establish contacts with a wide range of potential customers, including food service clients, retailers, and people with responsibility for public procurement.

“There’s a demand for quality lamb in the region,” explained Rhys. “We’ve been working for some years to build Welsh Lamb’s presence in the UAE, but we were able to meet with distributors from countries where market access has recently been granted, such as Bahrain and Kuwait, as well as Saudi Arabia where diplomatic work is ongoing to lift restrictions on red meat imports.

“There’s much work to do to build on new contacts, establish trade networks and build our brands, but this week has been very positive,” added Rhys Llywelyn. “We’re very grateful to Gary Rhodes, the Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths, and the British Embassy for helping us to sell Wales’ outstanding agricultural produce to the world in Dubai this week.”

The Cabinet Secretary said: “International exhibitions are vital in raising Wales’ global profile as they present the opportunity for Welsh businesses to prosper by entering new overseas markets. It’s been a productive and successful few days in Dubai. Our quality food and drink sector is a success story and it is more important than ever we remain an outward focused nation and grasp new opportunities. This is why we are investing £2,4million over the next two years to have a strong presence at a series of important food and drink exhibitions and trade visits, including a continuation of our ongoing presence at Gulfood.”