India opens market to British sheep meat

India opens market to British sheep meat
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Andrew Ward

A new agreement has seen India open its market to British sheep meat for the first time, with farmers and food producers getting ready to reap the benefits.

The UK’s sheep meat exports were worth £386 million to our economy in 2017, with lamb meat alone reaching 69 export markets.

The new agreement, which covers a range of sheep meat cuts, is expected to build on this by over £6 million in the next five years.

The deal has been secured following a detailed process of inspections and negotiations by the UK government, working with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP).

Exporters can take advantage of the market as soon as the administrative listing process is completed and export certification is made available.

It follows a number of recent successes for UK food and drink exports, which reached a record level of £22 billion in 2017.

China recently lifted its two-decade long ban on UK beef exports, while Taiwan also opened its market to British pork for the first time. Together, the agreements are estimated to represent over £300 million in the first five years alone.

In Wales, lamb exports account for a third of total food and drink exports – worth £110 million.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox, said: “The opening of the Indian market to British lamb is further good news for our farmers, and is another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink at a time when exports from the sector are at a record high.

“This latest agreement is a welcome progression in the already fruitful UK-India relationship, and I look forward to seeing British lamb on Indian tables in the near future.”

Food Minister George Eustice said: “The latest market access opening in India represents a significant win for the UK’s sheep meat producers.

“The announcement builds on the UK’s food and drink exporting success story – our well-established reputation for taste, quality and high animal welfare standards has seen our food and drink industry export at record levels in recent years.

AHDB International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley said: “India represents a smaller market for our sheep meat exports but one with the potential for future growth due to its growing population and income.

“Access to this new market is the result of ongoing work by government, AHDB and key industry stakeholders and provides us with another non-European market for our sheep meat exports.”