A ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry has been announced today to help support businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus.
The new strategic interventions jointly announced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will offer immediate support to help businesses in the industry grow their trade activity overseas.
The agriculture, food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry and plays a vital role in the UK’s food supply chain, which contributed £121 billion to the UK economy in 2018 – supporting around 4 million jobs. In 2019, UK food, feed and drink exports were worth £23.7bn – up 4.9% from 2018.
The measures introduced today aim to support producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies across the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and has been developed with insight from the devolved administrations, trade associations, businesses and DIT’s regional and international networks.
The ‘bounce back’ plan is a new programme of physical and virtual events that have been tailored to help a variety of businesses and exporters. These include an overseas virtual buyer trial, a ‘Smart Distance Selling Process’, and a package of ‘Ready to Trade’ Exporting Masterclass webinars.
Leveraging DIT’s existing E-exporting Programme, the Government is also launching a new SME E-commerce Accelerator Pilot to increase the level of international e-commerce backing for SMEs in the food and drink industry.
The plan will also see the introduction of Defra’s first Agri-food Counsellor serving the Gulf. In this new role, they will support the UK’s food and drink industry and represent the interests of UK businesses already exporting, or planning to export, to the region.
These measures are being announced as part of a programme of support for the agriculture, food and drink industry to ensure they benefit from new trade and investment opportunities – including future free trade agreements (FTAs).