Beef and lamb exports plunge during Covid-19 crisis

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Data from HMRC reveals exports of fresh and frozen UK sheep meat totalled just over 6,100 tonnes that month – down 2,300 tonnes on April 2019.

Beef exports totalled 8,500 tonnes – down 1,500 tonnes on the same month in 2019.

However total exports between January and April were up nearly 3% on the year to 42,400 tonnes.

Levy body AHDB said import trade was also affected by the pandemic, with beef imports down 3,200 tonnes to just under 18,000 tonnes, driven largely by a reduction in meat coming across from Ireland.

Lamb imports were back 500 tonnes on the year to 8,300 tonnes, and although shipments from New Zealand and Ireland reduced by 700 and 200 tonnes respectively, imports from Australia were up by 500 tonnes.

“As the first available data period fully covered by Covid-19 lockdown measures, the April figures indicate just how severely the widespread supply and demand disruption affected trade,” said AHDB analyst Hannah Clarke.

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