24 May 2002

Export outlets remain closed

ALTHOUGH the International Office of Epizootics declared Britain foot-and-mouth free four months ago, all main markets outside the EU remain closed to British genetics and pigmeat.

But that could change, should a DEFRA-sponsored initiative bringing international vets and producers to a series of seminars at the fair prove successful.

DEFRA contributed towards the expense of bringing across the 10-11 visitors, and trips to companies and units had been arranged in the days after the event, said its head of international relations and export promotion division, Nick Denton.

"The visitors sourced genetics from the UK before classical swine fever and F&M outbreaks and we are bringing them together with UK companies interested in exporting."

Marcus Bates, chief executive of the British Pig Association, played a key role in selecting the overseas visitors. "When I heard about £3m of government aid being available for F&M recovery, I thought we should have some for the pig industry. As well as bringing over the visitors, DEFRA will also have a stand at the World Pork Expo, which UK firms can use as a base. &#42