A significant importer of Welsh lamb into France has warned trade leaders that import tariffs on sheepmeat merchandise within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit would kill that trade.
Almost all Welsh meat exported from the UK goes to EU international locations – home demand is for 16-21kg carcasses and a big proportion of Welsh lamb carcasses are under this weight vary.
See additionally: Post Brexit prospects for agri-food trade
Among the shops for Welsh lamb is Rungis International Market close to Paris, which imports 12,000 lamb carcasses per week.
But these carcasses would want to seek out one other purchaser if the UK leaves the European Union with no trade deal on 31 December, says NFU Cymru’s livestock board chairman Wyn Evans
This message was made clear throughout latest talks with the French purchaser, he stated.
The trade with France is essential for Welsh sheep farmers – of the 40% of lamb exported from Wales, 90% is offered to Europe, a lot of it through Rungis.
“We were told by the operators of Rungis that there would still be demand for our lamb after Brexit, but that they wouldn’t be in a position to buy it if they had to pay a 46% import tariff,” stated Mr Evans.
The firm’s place displays that of different European patrons, he added.
NFU Cymru has stated that the sheep sector specifically would want some form of authorities help within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit.
On-farm planning troublesome
The uncertainty over how the UK will arrange its future buying and selling relationship with the European Union on the finish of the 12 months is impacting on the breeding and inventory administration choices on Welsh livestock farms.
Wyn Evans produces lamb from a flock of Tregaron Welsh ewes on the sting of the Cambrian Mountains.
If he knew there was going to be a “no-deal” Brexit, he would tup fewer ewes this autumn and as a substitute fatten extra cattle to compensate for the consequential lack of revenue. As the UK is a web importer of beef, Mr Evans predicts that the meat worth could maintain up higher.
But this would be the improper resolution for his enterprise if some form of free trade deal is reached with Brussels, he stated, as sheep would then have the ability to proceed buying and selling a lot as earlier than.
“It is a job to prepare because, potentially, we could have a deal and everything might be OK. Farming decisions should never be taken on a hunch.”
Mr Evans stated that, if he was a playing man, he would put his cash on an 11th hour deal.
“There is an excessive amount of to lose to go away with no deal, but when there’s a deal it would be legal to permit imports produced at inferior requirements to these of the Welsh livestock trade – requirements value cash.
“After the reform of the Corn Laws, agriculture went into an 80-year downturn pushed by low-cost imports to the extent that, in 1939, two thirds of our meals was imported, placing meals safety at a large danger.
“There are big lessons we can learn from history on this particular issue.”
Promoting Welsh lamb
There is figure to be completed to spice up gross sales of lamb in Wales, with solely 5% of the lamb produced really consumed in that nation.
Red meat levy our bodies are due to this fact being urged to pool sources to avert a worth crash as bumper provides of recent season Welsh lamb are anticipated to hit the market within the coming weeks.
Welsh sheep numbers are considered barely down on final 12 months, however with a very good lambing interval and inventory ending properly, there are extra lambs on the bottom which can be anticipated to hit the market in July.
Dafydd Jarrett, coverage officer at NFU Cymru, warned that lamb producers doubtlessly face an analogous scenario to the spring worth crash skilled by beef farmers, until motion is taken now.
He needs the availability chain to take the identical collaborative method it adopted with beef, with robust promotional work from levy our bodies and retailers to deal with carcass steadiness points.
“Hopefully we can replicate the beef success story with lamb,” stated Mr Jarrett.
Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) has collaborated with different levy our bodies to fund the #MakeItLamb marketing campaign, which is working all through July. Some £3.5m is being spent to encourage shoppers to prepare dinner with lamb, utilizing radio, native newspaper and social media shops.
The advertising physique has additionally been utilizing the Royal Welsh Show’s “virtual platform” to assist promote lamb, showcasing cooking and butchery demonstrations, and updates on key trade initiatives.