Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) – Meat Promotion Wales hopes to exploit a demand in high-quality lamb in the US that cannot be met by the nation’s farmers. HCC will participate in a number of meetings with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), before visiting Toronto in Canada.
HCC believe that £20m could be added to the Welsh economy by breaking into to the North American lamb market. Recent figures show that the number of US sheep is down from 56 million in 1945 to just 5.34 million, while in Wales there are nearly nine million.
Laura Dodds, HCC market development manager, said: “Our research indicates there is a demand for high-quality lamb among the more affluent sectors of American society. Welsh Lamb, with its Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, fits the bill perfectly for the discerning US consumer.
“Our aim is not to compete with American farmers, but to complement their efforts and to help boost demand among the American public for premium quality lamb. If we can gain a 5% share of lamb imports – which are primarily met by New Zealand and Australia – that would currently be worth £20m a year to Wales.”
The mission is a result of research into the US market, as well as successful exporting to Canada, which started in 2011. On top of partaking in discussions with British Ambassador to the USA, Sir Peter Westmacott, and chairman of the Friends of Wales Caucus, Congressman Morgan Griffiths, the delegation will visit Toronto to see the progress made by Welsh Lamb in the Canadian market.
Alun Davies said: “I am very pleased to be leading this latest trade mission as it provides us with an excellent opportunity to promote our lamb to some of the most discerning customers in the US and Canada. The visit is an excellent start to 2014 and an important part of Welsh Government and HCC’s work to develop the worldwide profile, reputation and export of Welsh food.”