A new food and drink export campaign was launched today (23 February) in partnership with the National Farmers Union (NFU), Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to help UK farmers export more high-quality produce to the world’s biggest and fastest growing markets.
Speaking at the NFU Live Conference, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the campaign – dubbed ‘Open Doors’ – will help farmers seize new opportunities in fast-growing consumer markets beyond Europe. Additionally, government support will help farmers and food producers capitalise on the work the Department for International Trade (DIT) is doing to cut barriers to trade and improve market access.
In her speech, Truss argued that UK farming stands to gain from the more liberal approach to trade the government is pursuing outside the EU. She said the high quality of UK produce makes it highly competitive in the global marketplace and highly appealing to growing middle classes in parts of the world such as Asia.
Working in close partnership with industry, the government will provide practical help for farmers and producers, including special exporting masterclasses and a new mentoring programme to give would-be exporters the tools and knowledge they need to start selling their produce internationally.
The campaign launches today with targeted advertising encouraging business to increase their overseas sales and directing them towards practical advice.
Speaking at the conference, International Trade Secretary said: “Our farmers need access to new markets around the world, but we need to get rid of the barriers holding them back. We will help you get out into the global market.
“Exporting supports higher wages, productivity, and high-quality jobs, but one in five of our food manufacturers export. We want to unleash the potential of many more businesses, which is why I am glad today to announce a new export campaign for British food and drink.
“As the Prime Minister has said, we want our farmers and food producers to be at the tip of our spear driving into new markets. We are dubbing this our 'open doors' campaign, reflecting the work we are doing to open new doors for farmers and food producers to unprecedented opportunities across the world.”
The UK’s food and drink industry already enjoys huge successes in the global market, exporting nearly £22 billion in agri-food and drink overseas for 2020. However, UK businesses can boost exports further by taking advantage of the opportunities new trade deals will bring, such access to new markets and reduced barriers to trade.
The International Trade Secretary added: “We need to look beyond our shores. By the end of this decade, 66 per cent of the world’s middle-class consumers are expected to be found in Asia. They are hungry for top-quality food and drink, where they know – from farm to fork – that high standards have been at the heart.
“We know that meat prices are higher in Asia than Europe. Demand for British food and drink is growing around the rest of the world. And in 2019 the United States is the world’s second largest beef importer.
“I want more farmers and food producers to grasp these sorts of opportunities and go global. Embracing fast-growing markets will ensure we always have somewhere to sell our food and drink, be resilient to any future economic shocks, and help maximise the potential of our exports.”
Commenting on the campaign, NFU President Minette Batters said: “Britain’s iconic food and drink is sought after all around the world and has a stellar reputation for its quality, sustainability and high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection. Food and farming businesses have a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of exports and international trade and I look forward to working with the Department for International Trade on its new campaign.”
AHDB International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley added: “The new AHDB five-year strategy recognises the great export potential of UK agriculture and AHDB is delighted to be working with DIT on this campaign to promote our farmer and processor stakeholders products in a valuable and diverse global marketplace, putting UK food on the world map.”
DIT has secured trade agreements covering 64 countries plus the EU, worth £889bn of trade in 2019, it said.
"Opening more doors for UK businesses, we are also seeking ambitious deals with the US, Australia and New Zealand, aligning with like-minded allies and applying to join CPTPP," DIT said in a statement.