NFU summit furthers plan to double dairy exports

The NFU and the Department for International Trade have met with dairy farmers, processors and exporters to discuss how the sector can build on ambitious plans to double the value of British dairy exports over the next ten years.

International trade secretary Kemi Badenoch opened the NFU Dairy Exports Summit on Wednesday 2 November, which focused on how the dairy sector should implement an export strategy launched by the NFU last year.

See also: NFU aims to double value of dairy exports in next 10 years

Lobbying government, increasing the focus on adding value, and greater collaboration with industry bodies such as the Department for International Trade, AHDB and Red Tractor are key parts of the strategy.

Ms Badenoch said she was determined to ensure the UK remained “world leaders in the dairy market”.

“British agriculture, especially our dairy producers, are vital to the UK economy,” the MP for Saffron Walden said.

“Last year dairy exporters sold £1.4bn of goods to markets around the world and the work we are doing to strike new trade deals and reduce market access barriers will only see that figure rise further.”

NFU deputy president Tom Bradshaw welcomed the minister’s support and said the government’s “commitment and resource” was needed to help the dairy sector export more of its produce around the world.

Accelerating export growth

NFU dairy board chair Michael Oakes added: “The summit provided a great sounding board for producers, processors and exporters to highlight some of the challenges faced and identify opportunities to help accelerate our growth in exports.

“Over the past few years we have developed a fantastic reputation around the world for quality and already export nearly £2bn worth of dairy products to more than 135 countries across Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.”

Dairy export value

UK dairy product exports have had a mixed performance so far this year (January to August), said Katherine Jack, senior dairy analyst at AHDB.

Dairy products worth just over £1.2bn have been exported in this period, according to AHDB’s dairy trade dashboard.

“Exports of the key product categories range from a 22% decline on the year for yogurt and buttermilk, to a 22% increase for cheese,” Ms Jack said.

“Other category declines included powders and concentrates (-14%) and butter (-2%), while other categories in growth were milk and cream (+9%) and whey products (+10%).