UK dairy industry gains new export programme

The UK’s dairy industry is set to be boosted by a brand-new programme to increase exports, the government announced. The Dairy Export Programme, which Minister for Exports Lord Offord launched during a visit to Lye Cross Farm in Bristol, will help UK agri-businesses grow by seizing new export opportunities and exploiting overseas markets for their products through a comprehensive package of export support, the government says.

The British Prime Minister committed £1 million (€1.14m) to the dairy sector at the UK’s Farm to Fork Summit in May. The dairy export programme is a direct result of this funding and forms part of a wider package of government support for agriculture, food and drink. This includes an investment of £2 million to boost the Department for Business and Trade’s (DBT) programme of global tradeshows and missions, which will be delivered in partnership with industry and the Food and Drink Export Council.

The programme will provide a range of targeted support for businesses, through education sessions on how to boost exports and target new markets and trade promotion activity, including an inward buyer trade mission and a UK Dairy Showcase. It will also provide specialist resource in priority markets dedicated to supporting dairy exports and market intelligence support to help businesses exploit overseas opportunities.

Minster for Exports Lord Offord said, “Growing the agri, food and drink sector is key to growing our economy, and I am delighted to launch the Dairy Export Programme which will help businesses grasp exciting new opportunities around the world.

“Last year our dairy exporters sold £2 billion of products to markets worldwide, and the work we are doing to strike up new trade deals will only see that figure rise further and move us forward in the race to £1 trillion of exports by 2030.”

The UK dairy industry features SMEs making up a large proportion of the sector and exporting over £2 billion of goods a year to over 135 countries, the government notes.

The Dairy Export Programme will build on strong existing support for the sector from DBT, which this year has included facilitating buyer tastings at Anuga, a dairy showcase at Foodex in Japan, and at the Food and Hospitality China trade show in Shanghai. Food and drink companies also benefit from support through DBT’s Export Support Service, Export Academy, UK Export Finance and a network of international trade advisers. DBT also has more than 100 advisers overseas who are focused on the agriculture, food and drink sector and who work alongside agri-attachés to tackle barriers and boost exports.

AHDB chief executive Tim Rycroft said, “International trade remains critical to the sector. Export development is at the heart of what AHDB does, showcasing our high-quality produce at international trade shows and hosting inward missions for key international buyers.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with government and industry to deliver impactful activities and help maximise global opportunities for our levy payers. It will support our ambition to help increase market access and international sales by championing the reputation of UK products overseas, as well as encouraging more businesses to export.”

Peter Dawson, policy and sustainability director at Dairy UK and chair of the Dairy Export Taskforce said, “Exports by dairy processors make a major contribution to the UK economy and there is considerable potential for growth. We welcome the support package announced today and look forward to continuing to work closely with DBT to maximise its benefit for dairy exporters and the dairy supply chain in general.”

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