British farmers should be confident the world wants to buy their produce, according to Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) chairman Peter Kendall.
Speaking before the St George meat industry dinner in Paris (20 October), the former NFU president said most producers had faced a tough year of falling prices but exporting more would keep home markets honest and add carcass value by using more unusual cuts.
He said the younger generation was already planning to step up production and grasp the opportunities of a growing world population and greater demand for meat and dairy.
Recent figures from Tetra Pak forecast world dairy consumption to rise 36% in the next decade, while most analysts agree economic growth in fast-growing countries like China will add to beef, lamb and pork demand.
“Some people say to me the future of British farming is cutting back production and shorting the market,” he says.
“We need to shout about the fact that world markets want our products and therefore we need to find ways of making sure we produce at the right quality, the right quantity and the right time for those markets.”
Earlier that day, Mr Kendall met exporters at Sial, the world’s second biggest food show, held every two years in the French capital.
Eblex ran an English-themed stand for businesses to catch up with customers and attract new ones.
Mr Kendall suggested a combined AHDB or UK presence might become more usual at large trade shows, drawing in milk levy board DairyCo.
“I hope that over the next year or so we can work quite hard to see how we can pull together those messages of AHDB and put out a united force on market development,” he added.
Speaking on the Eblex stand, Defra secretary Liz Truss said her priorities were increasing exports as well as keeping up consumption of British products at home.
She said work was being done to protect the home market by allowing public services to buy more local and seasonal food, as well as introducing new country-of-origin labelling next year.
Ms Truss added that the number of British stands at the show was up 30%, showing a “real appetite” for exports among businesses.