UK levy body ponders benefit of China lamb deal

By Georgi Gyton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The UK is keen to gain market access to China
The UK is keen to gain market access to China

Related tags: Supply and demand, Inner mongolia, Lamb, Beef

It may still be years away, but UK beef and lamb levy body Eblex has said gaining access to the Chinese market for its lamb would be a "game-changer", with potential returns likely to be in the tens of millions per year.

The body is currently leading a small delegation to China, alongside the National Farmers’ Union and National Sheep Association, to the Inner Mongolia region. It has the largest sheep population in the world and currently supplies much of its lamb to the domestic market in China.

Chris Lloyd, industry development manager, Eblex, said: "Wages are rising by 13% a year and demand for lamb is expected to hit one million tonnes by 2020. The potential is significant if we can secure market access, and English producers and processors will be the big winners.

"We do need to properly understand the Chinese sheep sector and its current supply chain to see where our own producers could fit in and how that would be best achieved. For instance, with lamb production being cyclical, there may be periods where their supply is shorter and that is something we may be able to capitalise on."

He added: "While China is undoubtedly an important destination for many fifth-quarter products for which there is no domestic market, with the changing demographic of the population, there is also opportunity in the high-end market, with quality-assured product."

Related topics: Meat

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