Welsh Government and HCC hail red meat export success

A three-year Welsh Government investment of £1.2 million to support the export activities of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has resulted in over £38 million of new and safeguarded business for PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef.

Among the new business secured in emerging markets over the three years of the programme were almost £11 million of new exports to Scandinavia, £4 million of additional business in Italy, and £1.5 million in extra business in new and developing markets for PGI Welsh Lamb such as Hong Kong, Switzerland and Canada.

The programme helped to secure a range of existing business, including £13 million of combined exports to France, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.

In a project lasting from 2013-16, Welsh Government support enabled HCC to undertake a wide range of promotional activities across the globe. This included raising awareness of the PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef brands among consumers, working with supermarkets and prestige food service agents to promote Welsh red meat, supporting a presence for exporters at key trade fairs, and hosting inward missions to Wales by chefs and journalists.

With the vote to leave the European Union having led to uncertainty over the future terms of trade between the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, safeguarding existing markets and developing new trading relationships has become even more important for export-dependent industries such as Welsh red meat.

Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, said; “In the face of a difficult global economic climate, we have had to maintain our gains in recent years in terms of red meat exports against cheap imports, and political pressure in favour of domestic produce.

“So it’s very pleasing that the Welsh Government’s three-year investment programme in supporting exports and developing new markets for quality Welsh Lamb and Beef has produced such an excellent return.

“For an investment of £1.2 million over three years, we have supported HCC and the Welsh red meat sector to maintain £20 million of existing trade, and secured over £18.5 million of new business, both in markets where Welsh produce is already well-known, and breaking new ground.

“This export development work contributes greatly to protecting lamb prices at home against the substantial recent pressure from cheap imports. The three-year programme has given a major boost to the important red meat sector, which is worth £1 billion a year to the Welsh economy, and accounts for £200 million of total exports.

“The success of this programme will be vital in putting the industry on a firm footing during the uncertainty of the post-referendum period, as Wales seeks to maintain established markets in Europe and renew our efforts to develop trade further afield.”

Dai Davies, Chairman of HCC, was delighted at the results of the Welsh Government-funded project to develop overseas markets for PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef.

“Before embarking on this project, HCC undertook thorough research on which countries we needed to do work to protect existing trade, where there was the greatest potential for export growth, and the strategies that would work in each market,” said Mr. Davies. “It’s very encouraging that business relationships were protected and developed in existing markets such as Italy, France, Germany and Spain, and that red meat from Wales is also now gaining a presence in Switzerland, Hong Kong and other new areas.”

He added, “We are very grateful to the Welsh Government for this support, and to ourproducers and processors throughout the supply chain for maintaining the premium quality for which Welsh Lamb is renowned.

“Now that this project has been successfully completed HCC’s market development team will continue to work with retailers across the world on promotional campaigns, to meet the challenges of the next few years when the Brexit vote will change the landscape for our industry.”