Exports of red meat from the UK have reached an all-time high, with shipments valued at £858m in the first half of the year, latest figures from HMRC have revealed.
Between January and June this year, 314,000t of beef, lamb and pork were exported to global markets, compared to 268,543t exported last year over the same period.
Comparable figures show a pre-lockdown high of £726m in the first half of 2019, which represented a significant 9% increase on 2018’s numbers.
However, the impact of Covid-19, lockdowns, and Brexit stunted market growth, causing a decline in export figures.
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Dr Phil Hadley, international market development director at the AHDB, said: “It is very encouraging to see that the value of our red meat exports so far this year has not only surpassed pre-pandemic levels, but reached record levels.
“Covid-19 could have adversely impacted exports long-term, however the reality is that despite a number of challenges, our exporters have been able to continue sending beef, lamb and pork to existing and new markets around the world.”
Beef exports this year, which includes offal, have so far reached £319m – the majority of which has been sold to the EU.
Similarly, volumes of pork sold have also increased from 177,000t to more than 193,000t – giving a market total of £292m, despite a 3.6% fall in value.
Lamb exports boost
So far, lamb exports have been worth more than £245m, representing a market increase in both volume and value of 22.9% and 32.5% respectively.
The majority of these lamb exports were shipped to the EU, which comes as a welcome boost ahead of Love Lamb Week, which kicks off on Thursday 1 September and aims to promote British lamb both at home and overseas.
Dr Hadley added: “AHDB has heard from levypayers that they value our export work, so we will continue to work with government and industry to identify new markets for our red meat, to build on these impressive figures.”