Sheep industry must not be sacrificial lamb FUW warns

As September kicks off with the ever more popular ‘Love Lamb Week’ , the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging the UK Government to ensure that the sheep industry doesn’t end up being the sacrificial lamb because of failed negotiations with the European Union.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We have said it many times before - our lamb is of the finest quality and those who have tasted it will, I am sure, agree that it stands out as a premium product. 

“However, producing a premium product is of no use if we have no market to sell it to and tariffs make it uneconomical to pursue such food production.

“Three years on from the EU referendum and one of the most complex issues we still face in light of our exit are the trade negotiations. 

“We know that if we don’t have an export market after 31 October, then we will have too much lamb for our own market - even if all imports were banned.” 

Mr Roberts further reminded the UK Government that 40% of UK sheep meat is exported tariff free to the EU and that it is also a seasonal product.

“We rely on the fact that we can export cuts of meat that are less popular with our consumers, which balances our carcass sales out, but also we are just entering the UK lamb season. 

“If we lost access to that market, Welsh agriculture is looking at some serious problems. We are responsible for more than 20% of the UK production and the consequences of a no-Deal Brexit would be catastrophic and potentially see the destruction of our sheep industry, disintegration of our rural communities and the end for our rural economy.

“The survival of our rural economies and the future of our lamb industry depend on the success of those trade negotiations. As an industry we sincerely hope for more than a miracle, if we are to continue producing Welsh lamb as a premium product for generations to come,” added Glyn Roberts.