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Thriving Sheep Sector "Important for Environment"

11 March 2016

WALES, UK - “We cannot over-emphasise the importance of a thriving sheep sector,” said NFU Cymru Deputy President, John Davies to those present at a recent NFU Cymru Livestock board meeting.

John Davies addressed the livestock board delegates following his EU Sheep Reflection Group meeting in Brussels, where he represented the UK sheep industry.

He said, “A thriving sheep sector is important for rural businesses across the UK and Europe, we also cannot forget the fundamental role that lamb production has in protecting the environment.

“High on the Sheep Reflection Group’s agenda is New Zealand lamb imports, the appropriateness of a historic EU import quota and the timing of New Zealand imports to the EU.

"New Zealand has supplied lamb to both the UK and Europe for many years, but at times of the year when less UK lamb was on the market.

"Unfortunately this is no longer the case and more and more containers of chilled New Zealand lamb are hitting the UK market at peak season for UK lamb (from May to January).

"This influx of New Zealand lamb is becoming an increasing problem for the UK sheep industry and the group needs to consider whether the terms and conditions of the import quota remain fit for purpose."

Mr Davies continued: “Other vital areas we need to look at are lamb promotion and new product development, to enable us to reverse declining lamb consumption. We must listen to consumers’ demands and ensure that our quality product is promoted and packaged in a way that will appeal to our consumers across the globe.”

The EU Sheep Reflection Group has been set up by EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan and aims to look at the sheep sector at an European level. The findings and recommendations of this influential group will be important for the sector going forward.

NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman, Wyn Evans, thanked John Davies for his presentation and said that the goal for the EU Sheep Reflection Group should be to look at how we can reverse the trend of declining lamb meat purchases; achieve better carcass balance and ultimately increasing lamb consumption in markets across the World.

TheSheepSite News Desk