HCC in major drive to grow new markets

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is looking forward to a busy few weeks as it aims to grow markets outside Europe which could be very important to Welsh farming’s post-Brexit future.

The red meat levy board will join with processing companies to showcase PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef at two major shows; Food and Hotel Asia in Singapore on 24-27 April, and SIAL Montreal in Canada on 2-4 May.

During the busy spring period HCC will also be active in other new and potential future markets. It is supporting a meat processor to join a Welsh trade mission to Qatar, and the body will be represented in a delegation of European food producers exploring market access with officials from China, where it is hoped that permission will be granted for the export of UK beef and lamb over the coming years.

A third of Welsh Lamb is exported; of those exports the EU is the destination of over 90% of the lamb and beef going from Wales overseas. Volumes of meat sold in newer markets such as Canada and Asia are currently small, but HCC is targeting these countries given the uncertainty over future European trade access after Brexit.

“Given the uncertainty over markets and tariffs at the moment, we have to focus on several objectives at once,” explained HCC Market Development Manager Rhys Llywelyn. “We must maintain links with our vital European customers, as well as developing markets further afield, and redoubling our efforts in the UK.”

He added, “We would not be able to do this without having secured additional funding. Our additional activity in Asia and North America is made possible by the Welsh Government’s three-year enhanced export funding, and also by collaborating with our English and Scottish counterparts through a new ring-fenced fund to support a joint presence at trade shows.”

“At these shows we’ll be working with Welsh processing companies to build links with importers, retailers and foodservice suppliers,” said Rhys. “Building our presence in these countries will be a challenge, but we’re confident that high-quality Welsh meat can carve out a profitable niche in these markets.”

The presence at the two trade shows as well as other events and activities over the next year is funded bya £2 million fund of AHDB red meat levies ring-fenced for collaborative projects and managed by the three GB meat levy bodies – AHDB, HCC and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). The ring-fenced fund is an interim arrangement while a long-term solution is sought on the issue of levies being collected at point of slaughter in England, for animals which have been reared in Scotland or Wales.

Other activity in the Middle East, Asian and North American markets is supported by the Welsh Government’s enhanced export programme worth £1.5 million over three years. The discussions between food producers’ representatives and China are funded by the EU.