Royal Welsh: HCC chair warns industry of ‘disastrous’ No-deal lamb price fall

New research shows that Welsh lamb farmers could face a 24% drop in market prices caused by a near wipeout of exports if the UK pursues a ‘disastrous’ No-deal Brexit in October – the height of the lamb export season.

Hybu Cig Cymru / Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) chairman Kevin Roberts told industry stakeholders at the Royal Welsh Show the effects on the industry would be “off the Richter scale”.

“I warned at last year’s Show of ‘seismic’ No-Deal Brexit impacts – well, this new information means the effect on our producers of an October No-deal would be off the Richter scale”, he told industry representatives at a breakfast briefing today (July 22).

HCC, and the two other GB red meat levy boards, commissioned the research by the Andersons Centre, which calculates that combined beef and sheepmeat exports to the EU could decline by 92.5% with lamb export trade “almost completely wiped out” which would hit market prices badly.

We must do all we can in the short weeks ahead to prevent this perilous projection from becoming a reality.

“We need a seamless and stable solution. With the right deal and unfettered access, HCC is ready to ramp up exports and boost domestic demand,” Roberts said.

HCC found many customers at home and abroad admired the ‘Welsh Way’ of low-intensity livestock farming, and highlighted the positive steps being taken by Welsh farmers to cut emissions and maximise carbon storage.

“It’s one of the most sustainable ways to farm in the world, yet we still have to fight fake news.

“Those that peddle falsehoods about food production methods and its consequences for climate change may be under-researched, under qualified and often underhand. But that doesn’t stop them being over-hyped and all over social media.

“It’s time for Welsh farming’s success story to become on-trend. HCC is leading the communications fightback with videos and other multimedia material featuring the real stars of the show – farmers themselves, and our incredible Welsh landscape,” Roberts told the event.

He said HCC’s trailblazing Environmental Road Map would be updated, and the Red Meat Development Programme, supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 and funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government, was “pushing this agenda forward on issues such as animal health, genetics and shelf life.

“The message for today is: For our economy and the environment, Welsh farming is a Big Deal…It’s the real deal…but our great producers deserve so much more than a disastrous No-deal,” said Roberts.