Government announces plans to boost food exports

Plans to help the UK’s farmers and food and drink businesses boost exports have been announced Defra.

The UK agri-food sector contributes around £20bn in exports each year, yet only 20% of companies sell their goods overseas. 

The government has said it wants to increase this by appointing more dedicated ‘agri-food attaches’ to act as representatives on the ground to unlock key markets across the world. 

There are also plans to establish a Food and Drink Exports Council to work to expand food and drink exports.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Our farmers are the lifeblood of our nation – producing home grown food and acting as stewards of our natural environment. We want people at home and abroad to be lining up to buy British.”

Responding to the announcement, NFU President Minette Batters said: “The NFU has long called for significant government investment which enables a partnership approach to international trade opportunities for British farmers.

“This is a positive step in the right direction and I welcome this new commitment to put people on the ground with the technical expertise to open up new markets. I look forward to seeing more detail on this proposal and working with government to boost our agri-food exports abroad.

“In line with other countries like Australia and New Zealand, it is crucial there are farmer representatives as part of the UK agri-food trade delegation. We have also always maintained that there needs to be government match-funding of industry investment in trade and export promotion.”

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