British pork exports rise dramatically to hit £160m

Pork exports rose dramatically last year, buoyed on by the weak value of sterling against the euro, according to new figures from BPEX.

Exports of fresh and frozen pork totalled around 118,300t in 2008 – up 20% or 20,000t on the previous year. Bacon exports also increased significantly, from 12,000t in 2007 to 33,000t. Offals rose 18% to 19,000t, with nearly 40% going to the Netherlands and 30% to Hong Kong.

In total, exports of pork, processed pork products and offals were worth £160m to the British pig industry last year and it is hoped their value will increase further this year.

BPEX chief executive Mick Sloyan said: “Exports are vital to the industry, which is why BPEX is keen to expand the number of markets into which we sell. These impressive figures show that although sow carcase exports increased, the biggest rise was recorded for prime pork cuts.”

“This is particularly encouraging following the restrictions put in place during the foot and mouth outbreak in 2007.”

It also demonstrated the value of the export recovery programme conducted by DEFRA and BPEX in early 2008, he said. “It is particularly true for pork offal, which was an important element of the programme.

“With the value of sterling more competitive compared with the euro and other currencies, we hope to see further growth in exports in 2009,” he added.