Export trade for Welsh sheep and beef products smashed all records last year, reaching nearly a quarter of a billion pounds.

Figures released by Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) on the opening day of the Royal Welsh Show (23 July), reveal that exports in 2011 were worth £240m to the Welsh economy.

From this figure, £200m is from Welsh lamb and beef exports – up £53m from 2010 – while exports of sheep skins, cattle hides and offal were worth £40m to the economy last year.

Export sales broken down 

 Welsh lamb £133m (£112m in 2010)
 Welsh beef £67m (£35m in 2010)
 Welsh sheep skins £33m
 Welsh sheep offal £1.5m
 Welsh cattle hides £3.5m
 Welsh cattle offal £2m
 

HCC chairman Dai Davies said: “This is a staggering achievement; exports have proven to be an enormous benefit to the Welsh red meat industry, pumping much needed earnings into the under pressure Welsh economy.”

He attributed the increase in export sales to aggressive marketing of Welsh products overseas as a premium product. As a result, Welsh beef sales abroad have doubled in a year from £35m to £67m.

And the huge boost in the value of exports was down to increased demand from markets in Europe, alongside new opportunities in countries such as Scandinavia, Canada, China, Russia and the USA, he added.

But while exports are important to the industry, Mr Davies said the domestic market remained a strong focus of the HCC.

“We have launched a new advertising campaign under the ‘Quality Time’ banner, which includes television, quality national consumer magazines and online activity. And glossy recipe booklets, posters and other point of sale material have been produced both for multiple retailers and for independent butchers.”

Welsh farming minister Alun Davies said the record value of beef and lamb exports was a fantastic achievement.

“We produce world class quality meat here in Wales and it’s something each and every one of us should be extremely proud of,” he said.

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