Consumers, farmers and meat industry insiders heard how Wales is poised to take advantage of the opening of the Chinese market for Welsh Beef, at a well-attended event at the recent Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells.
The special event, held at the Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) stand, explored how Chinese consumers’ tastes differed from that of UK shoppers’, in ways that would allow beef processors to export cuts which were less popular in the domestic market, thereby ensuring a better price for the whole carcase.
The Winter Fair event featured a presentation by Welsh beef exporters, and a cooking demonstration by chef Larkin Cen, a specialist in Asian cuisine who owns a number of restaurants, of slow-cooked Chinese-style beef.
Beef exports from the UK to mainland China had been banned for many years. However, a high-level government delegation from the People’s Republic visited Britain in the summer, which included on-farm visits in south Wales, helped to accelerate the lifting of restrictions. Welsh meat exporters are currently going through a certification process to be able to start trading in 2020.
It has been estimated that exports of beef to China could be worth £230 million to the UK over the next five years. Negotiations continue regarding lifting similar restrictions on lamb exports.
“The opening of the world’s largest consumer population to exports of Welsh Beef is significant, and is the result of many years of hard work by governments and the UK Export Certification Partnership, of which HCC is a part,” said HCC Chairman Kevin Roberts. “We were delighted to host this event at the Winter Fair, to demonstrate the opportunities that could await us in developing the beef trade.”
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
“The opening of the Chinese market is really good news for Wales’ farmers and the economy. It presents an excellent opportunity to explore a potentially lucrative new market and for more people to get the chance to discover our high quality PGI Welsh Beef.
“I was pleased to welcome the high-level delegation from the People’s Republic of China to Wales earlier this year and it is extremely encouraging to see the progress made since the visit”.
“These exciting developments demonstrate the Welsh Government funded Enhanced Export Programme, driven by Hybu Cig Cymru, is effectively supporting wider UK efforts in securing access to new markets for our important red meat industry”
Senior beef industry executive Prys Morgan commented;
“We were very pleased to showcase some of the beef cuts that are sought by the Chinese market. Having access to this huge market will increase demand and that can only be good for the welsh beef industry.”