Welsh meat exports generate £210m despite Brexit and Covid challenges
Despite the impact of Brexit and Covid, the value of lamb and beef exports from Wales continues to be over £210 million a year, according to new figures from HMRC
The quantity of meat being exported remains below pre-pandemic levels, however, because food has been subject to price inflation, the total value of lamb and beef exports from Wales in 2021 was comparable with levels seen in 2019, maintaining the financial value of the exports.
According to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), Brexit and the Covid pandemic have both influenced trade patterns.
The figures, reported in Meat Management.com, reveal that volumes of red meat exported from the UK fell last year by 20% for sheep meat and 12% for beef, while retail demand for lamb and beef in the UK soared, meaning that there was less meat available for export.
The impact of Covid disruption on imports to the UK saw the difference in the volume of lamb shipped into the UK between 2020 and 2021 drop by a substantial 18%, with New Zealand continuing to be the dominant supplier, accounting for 67% of fresh and frozen imports.
HCC’s data analyst Glesni Phillips said: “Work by HCC and processors to maintain retail and foodservice trade to key markets, along with price inflation in the food sector in recent months, partly explains the divergence in the volume and value figures.
“It’s good news that the value of Welsh red meat exports remains above £200 million a year, and this has helped ensure strong prices for farmers. However, there is still considerable uncertainty in the future outlook.”
“It is possible that exports may increase again in the latter half of 2022. Beef production levels are forecast to increase which will mean greater product availability for export markets where demand for beef remains.
“For lamb, global supplies are forecast to remain tight which could lead to an increased export demand during 2022, but that will of course depend on the lambing season and subsequently on supply and demand levels in the UK market.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.