23 April 1998
Meat wholesalers warn of long-term beef decline

THE UKs balance of payments faces a £1 billion adverse swing on the beef trade because the Government has pushed the British beef industry into long-term decline, according to the Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers.

Richard Cracknell, president, said the UK had exported more than £500m of beef a year before the export ban was imposed in March 1996. He said in future the UK would have to import the same amount to meet demand, which could not be met by UK production.

Beef consumption had returned to pre-BSE levels, he said, but the UK was expected to import 250,000 tonnes of beef this year, currently at low prices because of the strength of sterling.

Mr Cracknell attacked the calf processing aid scheme under which farmers receive a payment to send male calves to slaughter. With 600,000 to 700,000 calves going through the scheme each year, there is a real risk of creating a home-grown beef shortage in the future.

  • Calf Processing Aid Scheme must be axed – report, FWi, yesterday (22 April) — Click here
  • Financial Times 23/04/98 page 17