Welsh lamb exported to USA for first time in 25 years
Lamb from Wales will be shipped to the USA for the first time in more than 25 years today.
The consignment, which has been processed at Dunbia, Carmarthenshire is the first since imports were banned in 1996, as a result of BSE, or “mad cow disease”.
A similar ban on beef was lifted last year.
Welsh Government, alongside Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, have worked with the US Government to gain access for Welsh Lamb once again.
Hybu Cig Cymru estimates the potential market for Welsh Lamb in the USA could be worth up to £20 million a year within five years of the export restrictions being removed.
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “Wales produces some of the very best lamb in the world, and it is great news people in the US will now be able enjoy it.
“This is a real boost for the industry. Securing access to the US market has been a long running effort, with Welsh Government and Hybu Cig Cymru having raised this issue with American authorities over a decade ago. I want to thank everybody who has worked hard to get to this point.”
Recent figures suggest that currently 5% of lamb from Wales is consumed in Wales, approximately 60% is consumed in the rest of the UK, and 35% is exported overseas.
In 2021 the key markets outside the UK for Welsh Lamb were, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland and Netherlands.
In February figures from HMRC revealed that despite the impact of Brexit and Covid, the value of lamb and beef exports from Wales was over £210 million a year.
In March data published by Hybu Cig Cymru revealed that the shelf life of Welsh Lamb has increased by almost 20% in the last two years taking the average shelf life to just below 40 days.
The shelf-life increase means creates new opportunities to export Welsh Lamb to developing markets across the globe, and can be exported more sustainably by sea rather than by air freight.
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