HRH The Prince of Wales showed his support for red meat exports from the UK with a stirring message for foreign embassy staff and MPs at a London event in early June.
His supportive words, including the message that the United Kingdom was now a major player on the global market again despite the setbacks the beef, sheep and pig industries have had over the last 15 years, were read out by Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) chairman John Godfrey at an export barbecue in Westminster’s Garden Museum, organised by EBLEX and BPEX.
In his letter HRH said: “Our climate and geography produce some of the best grassland and this, coupled with our high standards of animal welfare, means we have a product of unrivalled quality, tenderness and taste. We are also able to boast robust assurance schemes, meaning that there is full traceability within the meat supply chain. The last few months have thrown into sharp relief just how crucially important this is for retailers and, ultimately, for customers.
“Every steak, every leg of lamb, every pork chop is the product of skills passed down through generations of farmers who, by their skill and industry, have created one of the most beautiful and iconic landscapes in the world.”
Guests at the event included staff from 12 different embassies, as well as Food and Farming Minister David Heath MP, former Food and Farming Minister Sir Jim Paice MP, Beef and Lamb All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) chairman Neil Parish MP, EFRA Select Committee Chairman Anne McIntosh MP and Bill Wiggin MP. It provided the ideal platform for EBLEX and BPEX to showcase what products the sectors can offer with guests treated to a selection of beef, lamb and pork dishes. It also helped cement existing overseas trade relationships and cultivate new opportunities.
Nick Allen, EBLEX sector director, said: “To receive such a positive message of support from HRH the Prince of Wales was very encouraging. Securing new export markets continues to be one of EBLEX’s key strategies for beef and lamb. It is vital to a healthy global market, with cuts matched to where the markets are and production maximised where it is most efficient and sustainable. It also helps underpin the domestic beef cattle and sheep prices.
“Our successful barbecue event proved popular with both key embassy staff and parliamentarians and also provided us with the ideal opportunity to build on the positives we have already achieved in terms of developing export opportunities.”
Since August 2010, AHDB, through EBLEX, has helped open more than 60 new non-EU export markets for beef and sheep meat alone. Exports of sheep meat now represent 36 per cent of UK production and are worth £357.1 million to our economy. For beef, exports have grown to 16 per cent of UK production, with a value of £388.9 million. This is from a standing start of zero when exports of beef fully resumed in 2006.