By FWi staff
MORE beef will leave Britain the moment more abattoirs dedicate their premises to overseas deliveries under the Date Based Export Scheme rules, according to the National Beef Association.
Under current export conditions, very few abattoirs will be persuaded to bear the cost, and so the value of the new overseas export promotion that the Prime Minister initiated last week will be undermined, said the NBA.
Although the Association welcomes Tony Blairs personal backing for an export drive, St Merryn and Scotbeef are the only companies in the UK able to dedicate an abattoir to full time DBES rules, said NBA export development committee chairman, Colin Smith.
“Unless more abattoirs can afford to participate in this trade we fear the Prime Ministers promotional initiative will be slow to show results.”
The NBA claims exporters have orders from old customers but cannot serve them while DBES rules continue to demand total dedication for the whole of their throughput.
“These fundamental difficulties can be overcome if the DBES is modified to allow time based or daily dedication which allows abattoirs to source and process export beef on the days their trade demands,” said Mr Smith.
According to the NBA only about 20 tonnes of beef was exported from the UK in the four months since deliveries under DBES restrictions were made possible on 1 August this year.
And exports will continue to be small unless the European Commission is persuaded that approved abattoirs should be able to step outside the costly DBES conditions when on domestic work, said Mr Smith.
“Until this knot is loosened there will be a brake on revived export sales that no amount of promotion or political effort to persuade non- EU governments to relax their export bans can ease.”
In October the NBA launched a campaign to persuade the Commission to allow DBES abattoirs to dedicate their premises on a daily basis.