Post-EU referendum opportunities for meat exports took centre stage during today’s AHDB’s meat export conference in Warwickshire, with delegates being told that long-term prospects are “highly favourable” for UK producers but that the next three years could be “rough”.
AHDB chief executive, Jane King, described the referendum as a “game-changer” for UK agriculture, warning producers not to understate the importance of the EU single market for UK food businesses.
She added, however, that AHDB already has a strong track record in developing markets outside the EU, having successfully worked with Defra and UKTI to secure market access to China for pig meat and India for seed potatoes.
“This area of work will become ever more important once Brexit takes effect,” she said.
AHDB head of livestock exports, Jean-Pierre Garnier, acknowledged the challenges presented by tariff and non-tariff barriers but pointed to a “positive future” for exports in both EU and non-EU markets.
“Given Friday’s result, I anticipate there will be three years of rough seas and uncertainty for the UK meat trade,” he said.
“However, our core strengths and unique selling points, such as our natural production systems and the high quality and great taste of our products remain in place and, therefore, the long-term prospects are highly favourable, provided we manage a smooth transition to a new, constructive trading agreement with the EU.”