Last year saw a significant rise in beef and sheep meat exports from the UK, driven by the favourable exchange rate and ongoing investment in market opportunities, according to EBLEX Ltd.
A total of 81,000 tonnes of beef was exported from the UK in 2008, reflecting a rise in demand from the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium and Italy. This represented a 36 percent rise on 2007 figures of almost 60,000 tonnes.
Last year the UK exported 86,000 tonnes of sheep meat - up by a quarter on 2007 figures of 69,000 tonnes.
The value of 2008 sheep meat exports rose by 43 percent to £260 million - boosted by an increase in lamb cuts to the French market.
There was increased trade in UK sheep meat in 2008 with all major EU marketplaces, in particular with France where exports rose by 19 percent to 60,000 tonnes.
UK lamb now accounts for 46 percent of total imports into France - a positive development in light of the fact that household purchases of lamb in France fell by 8 percent last year.
EBLEX Chief Executive Richard Lowe comments: "The weakness of sterling against the euro is one of the major driving forces behind the rise in 2008 export volumes, as sterling lost 12 percent of its value during this period.
"The exchange rate has provided us with a positive platform for boosting UK exports - but work must continue to develop long term export market opportunities for quality beef and lamb.
"EBLEX has invested significantly in developing the French market over the past few years, both through initiatives such as the industry-funded Agneau Presto campaign, and longer term supply chain projects involving the Quality Standard Mark and the Agneau St George brand."
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