5 July 2002

Genetic exports a real opportunity

OPPORTUNITIES to export semen and embryos from cattle, sheep and pigs are opening up with the help of the British Livestock Genetics Consortium.

BLGs Rob Wills explained to show visitors that the consortium is acting as a facilitator between individual breeders and companies here and breeding companies abroad. It had brought eight international representatives to see stock at the show and BLG members herds.

"Two sheep genetics importers are here from the US with a shopping list. And, a Chilean representative is looking for Belgian Blues to use on dairy herds, as well as Herefords, Anguses and British Friesians," said Mr Wills.

He is confident they will buy this week, helping the consortium towards its target of restoring the £50m/year trade in livestock genetics. Good progress has already been made in the pig sector which exported £7m worth of genetics in the second half of last year.

"The world genetics trade has a good value and the industry needs a lift. If we can secure sales of British Whites to Brazil, it will have a trickle down effect on the whole breed," he added.

Since its launch eight months ago, BLG has already facilitated sales of South Devon and Aberdeen Angus semen to Sweden, despite its strict protocols for imports.

But BLG continues to lobby DEFRA to get more protocols for exports in place with countries wishing to import, as it is essential for trade to succeed.

To benefit from the opportunities BLG offers breeders, which includes 2-3 leads for potential exports of genetics a week posted on its website, individuals can join for a fee of £200. Membership is also open to breed societies and breeding companies.

Members benefits include contacts with breeding companies abroad and organisation of consignments from more than one seller to reduce costs of exports. &#42

There are good opportunities to sell UKsemen and embryos abroad, believes Rob Wills.