HCC to host international lamb producers’ forum

This week, Welsh red meat levy body Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) will host representatives from Beef and Lamb New Zealand Ltd. (BLNZ), for a series of meetings between two of the world’s most important lamb-producing nations.

On Thursday, 2 February, BLNZ Director Andrew Morrison and Europe Regional Manager Ben O’Brien will represent the New Zealand lamb industry in talks with their Welsh counterparts at HCC headquarters in Aberystwyth.

As well as holding talks with HCC executives and Chairman Dai Davies, there will also be an opportunity for BLNZ’s representatives to meet farmers’ leaders.

The meetings take place against a backdrop of uncertainty regarding the future of international trade following Brexit. Under current rules, New Zealand can export up to 228,000 tonnes of sheepmeat to the EU free of tariffs. At present around half of New Zealand’s European lamb exports come to the UK.

“We are pleased to welcome Andrew Morrison and Ben O’Brien to Wales, and to provide an opportunity for farmers’ organisations to raise issues of concern to their members,” said HCC Chairman Dai Davies.

“This is an uncertain time for the industry,” he added. “The major issue over which both parties will want clarification in the coming months is how much of the current EU quota allocation for New Zealand lamb will be taken up by the UK after Brexit, and how much by the rest of Europe. Wales’s agricultural industry must also have a strong voice in any future trade discussions between the UK and New Zealand Governments.

“Of course, the PGI Welsh Lamb and New Zealand Lamb brands are in competition in the UK market and in many other parts of the world,” explained Mr. Davies.  “However, there are also areas where Wales and New Zealand can co-operate, particularly in emerging markets overseas. Our complementary peak seasons can help build a year-round demand for lamb in new territories.

“I look forward to a constructive dialogue with our colleagues from BLNZ, and to building understanding as our industry looks to navigate these uncertain times,” said Mr. Davies.