Livestock producers to benefit from new EU members

Beef and pig producers in the UK are set to benefit from Romania and Bulgaria’s new European Union member status, according to industry experts.

The two countries, which joined the EU on 1 January, imported 93,000 tonnes of beef between them in 2006, according to latest Meat and Livestock Commission figures. An estimated 70,300 tonnes of this, the majority of which was lower-quality beef trimmings, came from Brazil.

However, due to higher import tariffs to EU countries, it would no longer be viable for Brazil to export lower quality meat to Bulgaria and Romania, forcing the two countries to look elsewhere.

Peter Hardwick, MLC international manager, said this could provide the UK livestock industry with an opportunity to increase exports.

‘Future opportunities’

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“As someone with a lifetime in farming and a decade of it in Romania, it is certainly the case that there are opportunities here for those willing to take a look.”

Stuart Meikle

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“Romania and Bulgaria consume high amounts of beef, and while it isn’t high quality at the moment, that could change and there could be future opportunities.

“In the short term we are looking at the offal markets as potential markets for UK livestock farmers to take advantage of.”

Robert Forster, National Beef Association chief executive, said there was also potential for UK beef farmers to increase exports of pedigree breeding stocks.

‘Bottomless market’

“The Eastern European market for our pedigree cattle is bottomless,” he said. “In the long term we can look forward to more demand for our beef from these countries.”

Independent consultant Peter Crichton said future prospects for UK pig producers following the EU’s expansion also looked promising.

“I don’t think there will be an initial significant impact, but the hope is pig meat consumption will increase.

“Meat traders are reporting that new entry countries are already placing orders which should help the EU pig market.”

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