National Sheep Association (NSA) chief executive Phil Stocker has said that the time for UK exporters is “now”.

These comments come following a recently launched ‘Beyond Borders’ Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) report highlighted existing and future export opportunities for the UK market.

AHDB has identified the Middle-East and North Africa as providing significant opportunity for the UK, specifically the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – a regional trading bloc made up of Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Stocker said the work was exciting and highlights “just how valuable our product is to the rest of the world”.

“Now is the time for UK exporters to capitalise on the high-quality food produced in the UK and realise the demand across the globe,” he said.

The association for UK sheep farmers said it is also supportive of activity aimed at helping exporters to capitalise on opportunity, specifically from the AHDB, which has organised a trade mission to Kuwait next month.

“NSA is pleased to see AHDB delivering on its strategic objectives and working collaboratively across industry and governments on a worldwide level to cultivate the opportunities that ensure a thriving, robust sector with longevity for generations to come,” Stocker added.

Trade opportunities

AHDB’s trade mission to Kuwait will explore export opportunities for red meat and dairy in the Middle Eastern market.

AHDB said five exporters will join it in Kuwait from September 25-27, 2023, to highlight sustainable UK meat production and to examine potential new business opportunities with local buyers.

Halal sector senior manager Dr. Awal Fuseini said the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market is a key target for UK exporters.

“MENA offers significant opportunities for UK exporters, especially for the lamb and dairy sectors, due to the region’s strong population growth with a high disposable income, together with limited production capacity, driving food imports higher over the next decade,” he said.