Sheepmeat sector turning the corner according to board chair
NewsMonday 07 October 2013
Charles Sercombe, the NFU livestock board chairman, addressed the International Sheepmeat Forum in Brussels on Friday, stating there was a bright future for the sheep market.
When talking to livestock producers from around the world, Mr Sercombe said that the global sheep market has all of the “right ingredients” for a bright future, but requires a long term view throughout the industry in order to inject confidence.
Mr Sercombe is also the chair of the European Commission Advisory Group on Sheepmeat. He told the delegates at the forum that the sheep industry has faced a torrid 12 months both in the UK and in a number of other countries, however, he is optimistic about the future of the sector.
He said: “Last year’s devastating marketing season had a huge effect on our members’ businesses and many farms are still feeling the effects.
“It is apparent that many of the issues facing sheep farmers are the same the world over. On the recent sheep industry mission to New Zealand, I met farmers who have faced similar issues as we do in the UK due to sustained poor prices and we discussed the negative impact price volatility is having for sheepmeat producers wherever they farm.
“However, I do believe we are turning the corner. Producer confidence has dipped but all the ingredients are there for a successful season. There will be less lamb on global markets and we’re seeing increased demand for lamb, especially from China.
“It’s vital that a change in attitude throughout the whole supply chain takes place. Now is the season that our farmers should be seeing the lamb market strengthen and British farmers expect agriculture’s biggest customers, the supermarkets, to be fully behind British lamb and working to help create a dynamic, vibrant sheep industry for the future.”