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Welsh meat exports generate £210m despite Brexit and Covid challenges

20 Feb 2022 2 minute read
Welsh lamb – on sale at Bodnant Welsh Food centre by Ian-S is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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, 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.”

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2 years ago

Farmers continue to complain about the instability of their industry. I recognise their place in maintaining the rural economy and communities. However if they are getting a bad deal from those who “trade” in their produce they need to make it explicit as to who is ripping them off. We all know that milk is often used as a loss leader and that drives some bad practices in the larger scale units. That is a simple easily recognised problem what others are there that need exposing now ?

G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
2 years ago

Obsessed by money

Imagine the market selling two pigs for a pound today then tomorrow selling only one pig for 1 pound and a penny
Not so great one pig farmer has gone to the wall whilst the other has a 1 per cent increase on income

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