UK secures £65m export deal to send poultry meat to Japan

UK poultry farmers will soon have their produce served on Japanese plates thanks to a new export deal worth an estimated £65 million over five years.

The UK Government says it has secured an agreement to export UK poultry meat to Japan, in a deal worth up to £13m a year for the poultry sector.

It said the deal, which follows four years of negotiations to agree specific animal health requirements, would create new opportunities for UK farmers and exporters, with shipments of UK poultry meat due to start going across to Japan this month.

“Our high-quality poultry with its exceptional flavour is renowned around the world, as are the high standards of food safety and animal welfare demonstrated by farmers and producers across the UK,” said UK Food Minister, Victoria Prentis.

“The Japanese market will now be able to enjoy more of our unique produce, adding to an already varied collection of UK food, such as pork, beef and lamb, already available to its customers.”

She added: “We are working hard to open new markets for our agri-food businesses, and this is a significant opportunity for the UK poultry sector.”



Australian farmers back UK trade agreement

More Australian beef and lamb will be exported to the UK as import taxes are phased out over a decade under a free trade deal between the two nations.

People up to the age of 35 will be eligible for working holiday visas in both countries, while UK backpackers will no longer have to work 88 days on farms to extend their stay.

The in-principle agreement is the first British deal with another country since the nation’s acrimonious divorce from the European Union.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson announced the agreement on Tuesday evening Australian time after face-to-face negotiations in London.

“Our economies are stronger by these agreements. This is the most comprehensive and ambitious agreement that Australia has concluded,” Mr Morrison told reporters at 10 Downing Street.

Beef and sheep meat tariffs will be eliminated after 10 years with duty-free quotas rising over the period.

Sugar duties will be phased out over eight years, with dairy tariffs scrapped after five years of increased quotas.

Agriculture was a key sticking point in reaching the deal, with British farmers concerned about competing against Australian products.

“We’re opening up to Australia, but we’re doing it in a staggered way and we’re doing it over 15 years,” Mr Johnson said.

National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said the deal was a significant step forward in Australia’s market access.

“Australian and UK farmers share a commitment to meeting the highest standards when it comes to caring for their land and their livestock, and that commitment shows in the quality of our produce,” she said.

“UK customers will benefit from the increased availability of high-quality Australian products on their supermarket shelves, alongside their homegrown options.”

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has recommitted to introducing the shelved agriculture visa to plug the shortfall in British backpackers.

“The NFF will need to see more detail on how an ag visa and the flagged agribusiness visa will work, and when, because we have heard this one before,” Ms Simson said.

The deal also paves the way for more professional qualifications to be recognised between the two countries.


by Matt Coughlan / The Canberra Times

Tariq Halal Meats to launch new ‘state of the art’ butchers

A butchers says it has ‘revolutionised’ the UK halal meat industry with its new data driven store.

Tariq Halal Meats will open their new branch in Stratford Shopping Centre, East London in August which will include ‘touch technology’ and E-shelf labelling.

The new technology says the store ‘will not only provide customers with a tailor-driven shopping experience based on their personal spending habits, but also the luxury of time to shop at their own leisure’.

Tariq Halal Meats has invested £250,000 importing cutting-edge equipment from Japan, Taiwan and China to develop a shop that is fully interlinked.

The brand will combine specially trained butchers with the introduction of hi-tech scales, terminals, self-serve kiosks and click-and-collect services to bring the butcher’s into the 21st century.

Tariq Halal partner Shukur Ali said: “This will be just the beginning of a next generation of data-driven AI butchers’ stores utilising the latest technology to provide an unparalleled shopping experience, which we hope will win back the trust of our regular supermarket meat shoppers.”


By Shuiab Khan / Asian Image

Tariffs axed immediately on Australian beef and lamb, triggering fears that farmers will be sent ‘to the wall’

Tariffs will be scrapped immediately on imported beef and lamb from Australia, triggering accusations that the trade deal struck by Boris Johnson will send UK farmers “to the wall”.

The small print of the first major post-Brexit agreement – revealed by Canberra, as the UK government tried to keep it under wraps – revealed a pledge to protect farmers for 15 years has been dropped.

Instead, Australian farmers will effectively be handed tariff-free access from day one, up to a “cap” on sales that is 60 times the current level of imported beef.

The detail was revealed as experts warned the overall economic boost from the deal would be “close to zero” – and the government admitted the average household would be just £1.20 a year better off.

The National Farmers Union demanded ministers come clean on exactly what has been agreed, “to ensure our high standards of production are not undermined by the terms of this deal”.

Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow trade secretary, also said: “No other country in the world would accept such a terrible deal for its farming industry, and neither should we.

“With this deal, and the precedent it sets for New Zealand, America, Canada and Brazil, the government will send thousands of farmers to the wall, undermine our standards of animal welfare and environmental protection, and threaten the conservation of our countryside.”



by Rob Merrick / Independent

Irish beef exports to GB drops back in 2021

During March, Irish cattle slaughter (incl. cows and calves) dropped back by 6.1% on the same month last year, according to according to Central Statistics Office data. Overall, Q1 Irish cattle slaughter fell by 13.6% year on year to total 434,100 head.

The reduced slaughter numbers are not unexpected, with higher slaughter throughputs last autumn tightening the supply of cattle available now. Industry estimates forecast a 3% fewer cattle to be slaughtered (50,000 head) during 2021. This tighter supply may be helping to support prices in Ireland, as well as also limiting the volume of beef available for export.

Global Irish beef exports during Q1 2021 were down 22% year on year, totalling 105,400 tonnes. Less beef was exported to GB with export volumes for the quarter back 38%, a reduction of 18,200 tonnes compared to the same period last year. Irish beef exports initially dropped back in January following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and have since been steadily recovering month on month.

Irish cattle prices have been on the rise in recent months. For the week ending 8 May, Irish R3 steers averaged €4.11/kg deadweight, up €0.63 on the same week last year. Looking at global prices, Irish prices have been narrowing the discount to prices here. Irish prices remain above current prices in New Zealand and Brazil but below those in Australia.

With high cattle prices in Great Britain, there is potential for exports from Ireland to increase in the coming months, possibly helped by the re-opening of the foodservice sector, although availability of production in Ireland may limit volumes to a degree.



By Charlie Reeve / AHDB

Will high UK prices encourage New Zealand lamb imports?

Lamb prices in New Zealand have been rising in recent weeks but still remain well below the high GB farmgate prices observed during the last few months. The gap between farmgate prices in New Zealand and the UK is currently in excess of £2/kg deadweight.

Seasonal trends from previous years indicate that this price gap will tighten, as increased volumes of new season lamb becomes available in the UK in the coming months, putting pressure on the UK’s domestic farmgate price.

The current high gap between UK and New Zealand prices would of course make the UK market more attractive to New Zealand lamb imports, if volumes are available.

New Zealand production was reported to be up by 40% year on year during March due to favourable conditions, according to Beef & Lamb New Zealand. During Q1, lamb throughputs were up 4% on 2020 and 1% on the five-year average. These higher production figures in New Zealand will increase supplies available for export. However, the destination of these exports will be determined by global prices and demand levels from Asian markets.

UK imports during Q1 from New Zealand have dropped back below last year’s levels, to the lowest levels for Q1 during the last decade. Traditionally, Q1 has the largest volume of sheepmeat imports from New Zealand to the UK.




By Charlie Reeve / AHDB

UK-Norway trade deal stalls over fears British beef and cheese could flood market

Trade talks between the UK and Norway have stalled over fears British beef and cheese could flood the Norwegian market and put farmers out of business.

Agriculture in Norway is heavily subsidised, with the Government and farmer representatives sitting down every year to agree prices, quotas and the amount of available direct support.

Traditionally, two of the most important goals of the annual agreement have been to keep rural incomes on a par with urban and maintain agricultural production across the country.

Now, discussions between the UK and Norway on a comprehensive trade deal have hit a roadblock, with the Christian Democrats – part of the current governing coalition – refusing to agree to tariff-free access for UK produce.

The two countries had until May 28 to agree a deal in order to get it passed through the Norwegian Parliament before their elections on September 13, but that deadline has lapsed without a breakthrough.

A temporary post-Brexit rollover deal between the UK and Norway was signed in December, but insiders have suggested a new agreement will now be unlikely to take effect before 2022.

George Dunn, chief executive of the Tenant Farmers Association, said: “The failure to reach an agreement with Norway is a lesson in how difficult international trade negotiations can be. Having relied upon the EU for so long, UK officials need to relearn the patient tradecraft involved in negotiating these arrangements.




by Abi Kay / Farmers Guardian

Fourth UK meat processor given green light to export to the USA

A fourth processing site in the UK has won approval to export its beef to the USA – marking a major leap forward for the business and for the red meat sector as a whole.

Foyle Food Group in Gloucester is now listed on the official ‘USDA Approved’ list, which means commercial exports of beef can commence with immediate effect.

Foyle Foods Group has its main headquarters located in Northern Ireland (NI) and its NI plant received access to the USA market last September.

It comes after extensive work by the company with support from the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) , Defra, the Food Standards Agency and the UK Export Certification Partnership.

The USA market is currently experiencing price rises for beef and an increased demand for premium products – driven by changing purchasing behaviour across all income groups.


by William Kellett / Agriland

JBS cyberattack disrupts Australian meat production

CANBERRA, Australia — A ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat processing company disrupted production around the world just weeks after a similar incident shut down a U.S. oil pipeline.

Brazil’s JBS SA, however, said late Tuesday that it had made “significant progress” in dealing with the cyberattack and expects the “vast majority” of its plants to be operating on Wednesday.

“Our systems are coming back online and we are not sparing any resources to fight this threat,” Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, said in a statement.

Earlier, the White House said JBS had notified the U.S. of a ransom demand from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House and the Department of Agriculture have been in touch with the company several times this week.

JBS is the second-largest producer of beef, pork and chicken in the U.S. If it were to shut down for even one day, the U.S. would lose almost a quarter of its beef-processing capacity, or the equivalent of 20,000 beef cows, according to Trey Malone, an assistant professor of agriculture at Michigan State University.






Argentina’s Temporary Ban on Beef Exports has Potential Market Impacts

From trade wars to animal disease outbreaks, and, of course, COVID-19’s upending of supply chains, there have been numerous disruptions in agricultural trade over the last several years. While maybe not at the same level of significance as these other events, an ill-advised export ban by Argentina is yet another trade-related event to add to the list.

Last week, Argentina’s president announced a 30-day ban on beef exports as part of an attempt to control rising inflation, which is approaching 50%. In protest, the country’s main farm groups said they would launch a nine-day halt in livestock trading. There are also reports of processing plants in the country shutting down in response to this decision.

While the export ban could very well be counterproductive for Argentina, it is unlikely to have a negative impact on U.S. producers and may even lead to increased U.S. beef exports. While the immediate impacts of the Argentine government’s decision are short-term (assuming the ban is not extended), it has the potential to disrupt beef import and export supply chains and will likely place upward pressure on already elevated beef prices.

Argentina as a beef exporter

In 2020, Argentina was the world’s fifth-largest beef exporter, exporting over 700,000 metric tons of beef and beef products. China/Hong Kong is by far Argentina’s largest customer, accounting for over two-thirds of the country’s beef exports. The next largest customer is Russia, at 7%, followed by Chile, Israel and Germany at 5%, 4% and 3%, respectively.

Argentina hasn’t historically been as large an exporter as it currently is, largely increasing its exports over the last three or four years and posting a five-year increase of over 200% in 2020. As Argentina’s global exports have increased, so have purchases from China/HK, growing from 16% of Argentina’s exports in 2012 to 70% in 2020 and pushing China/HK to the top of Argentina’s customer list. In the early years of this time frame, Hong Kong constituted the lion’s share of those exports and mainland China was virtually zero.

However, as incomes have risen in the country and consumers’ tastes and preferences have changed, China came to demand more and more of that share. The onset of African Swine Fever at the end of 2018 precipitated increased Chinese demand for all animal proteins, helping to drive this increase in Argentina’s beef exports.


by Michael Nepveux /