Sheep producers were told yesterday they faced a bright future provided costs could be stripped out of production. Speaking at the National Sheep Association event at Malvern, Rizvan Khalid, of Euro Quality Lambs, predicted the outlook was good for the industry.
Reduced sheep numbers in all the main producing areas of the world provided most of the basis for his optimism but it was tempered by current high prices. “The demand is there but we have to be careful that we do not price ourselves out of the market, especially under the current economic climate,” he said..
“There is now less space on the sales shelves than there used to be because of high prices and they are not actively promoting lamb.”
He also wanted more efficiency in the lamb supply chain, taking what he called unnecessary costs such as inspection and regulation charges out of the system.
Family owned, Euro Quality Lamb operates from Craven Arms on the English/Welsh border and they are currently processing around about 3,000 lambs per week.
Some 80 to 85 per cent of these are heading abroad and, despite the currency swing against exports, Khalid is upbeat about this market. “Price is holding us back a little but the demand is there and we are exporting to last year’s levels,” he said.
In addition to his traditional markets in France, Germany and Belgium, the company has been exporting lamb to Ireland in the past eighteen months following a shortage over there.
Euro Quality Lamb are the biggest processors of Halal meat in the country and this was a market which Khalid described as providing good opportunities for expansion. “The demographics of the Muslim population is generally younger than others and lamb is a key meat so there is the potential for future expansion,” he said.
In his address to those visiting the Malvern event he expressed concerns that the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy did not go too far down the road of providing only environmental benefits. “The environment is important but food production has to be at the core.”
If that happened then he said he said the sheep industry was a good one to be in especially for those coming into agriculture.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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