UK barley growers were told yesterday that they were “on the verge of a brave new world” as the Chinese market was now open for imports the grain.
According to Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board head of crops export trade development, Rob Burns, the Chinese are looking to import seven million tonnes of barley and the UK could have as much as 150,000 tonnes worth £20 million available.
“All the necessary permissions are now in place to give the UK access to mainland China which is a massive and growing market. Though the harvest has not yet finished, there will be a surplus which could find a ready home in the Far East as China requires grain from assured sources.
“Our export team have worked for years to gain access to the market and now we have opened the doors, it is a market that can be developed.”
Demand for barley in China has been fuelled by a large and fast-growing beer market while domestic production has, at the same time, been in decline. However, any grain exported will require to come through UK certification schemes that have been approved by the Chinese as meeting their requirements for exporters and elevators.
The announcement came as world grain markets fell in response to estimates of record crops of maize in the US as well as the growing availability and competitiveness of Black Sea wheat in export markets.