Lamb from the UK will soon be heading to the Middle Eastern market in a deal that is estimated to be worth £25 million over the next five years.
Saudi Arabian authorities lifted the ban on sheep meat from the UK, following a detailed process to gain access to this new and lucrative market.
The agreement comes following ongoing negotiations and inspections carried out jointly by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the Food Standards Agency, UKECP, Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the Animal & Plant Health Agency.
The lamb exports are expected to begin as early as next month once export certification is finalised and released.
Phil Hadley, AHDB international market development director, said: “This is great news for the sheep industry and for lamb processors and producers in the UK who are keen to look at new, non-EU markets.
“The announcement is the result of ongoing and detailed work between all parties and is a testament to the high regard and quality of UK lamb.”
HCC’s Market Development Executive Rhys Llywelyn added: “This is excellent and long-awaited news. Gaining permission to export Welsh Lamb to Saudi Arabia has been no easy matter, and is the culmination of many years of work.”
“This market offers a huge opportunity for us,” added Rhys. “It will take work to establish the PGI Welsh Lamb brand in the market, but it is already well-known in the UAE. From our recent work with the processors in terms of certification and with the Welsh Government trade mission, we feel as though we’re as ready as we can be to take advantage.”
“With Brexit on the horizon, exploring markets beyond the EU is more important than ever,” he explained. “We look forward to working with Welsh farmers and processors to make the most of this opportunity.”
The news follows a recent agreement to progress lifting the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) ban on UK beef exports to China, as well as exports of a broader range of dairy products.