EBLEX is hoping it will be able to do more to stimulate demand for lamb in the UK and across Europe, following a change in EU rules on funding for promotional campaigns.

The EU has agreed to change the rules which prevented Brussels co-funding promotional campaigns for “generic” sheepmeat products.

Until now funding has only been available for promotional campaigns which apply to a very limited proportion of the EU’s sheep production – limited to fresh, chilled or frozen meat with Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs) and Protected Designation of Origins (PDOs) status.

The new rules are due to come into force at the end of this month.

Peter Hardwick, EBLEX head of trade development, said: “The change recognises that sheep farming often takes place in Less Favoured Areas of the EU, including in the UK, and that this sector needs support. It is therefore pleasing that there has finally been some recognition that the sector needs direct, generic promotion to stimulate consumption.

“This change in the rules will allow us to go out and promote the sales of our fantastic product and I know EBLEX already has ideas about how we might access money and promote lamb in the UK and across Europe.”
Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock board chairman

“There has been a steady decrease in consumption of lamb since 2000 and this change to the rules will help increase consumer awareness of the sustainability and quality of the product. It will stimulate demand for European lamb products, particularly in major export markets such as France, and help fight competition from New Zealand.

“This is a great opportunity to encourage lamb consumption across Europe. EBLEX already works closely with the French, Irish and other UK levy boards to promote lamb generically in the French market. We will be looking to strengthen this activity by extending it to work in other member states and in the home market.”

NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said the sheep sector had had a torrid time with the disastrous winter still very fresh in the mind.

“This change in the rules will allow us to go out and promote the sales of our fantastic product and I know EBLEX already has ideas about how we might access money and promote lamb in the UK and across Europe.”

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