The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) role in facilitating exports for UK agriculture was in the spotlight when the Government’s export hub arrived at its Warwickshire headquarters.
Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Affairs the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom visited Stoneleigh Park on Thursday to speak to dairy processors at an export forum, organised by Dairy UK and AHDB. She then addressed industry stakeholders and journalists on the customised 32-tonne truck, which acts as the mobile hub.
It has been touring the UK this week promoting food and drink exports and pulled in at Stoneleigh to coincide with the high level dairy talks.
The Secretary of State was there to discuss the Government’s export plan for food and drink. It showcases the value to the British economy gained from the exports of farmer and grower produce, along with the work being undertaken to develop new overseas markets.
Peter Hardwick, AHDB Head of Exports, said: “Developing new markets and accessing different parts of the globe has been a central thread of a lot of work here at AHDB for the last six years.
“We have a proven track record in delivering on this, with massive expansion of markets in beef, lamb, pork, cereals and potatoes in particular. There is significant scope for other commodities and the seminars focused on how exporters could best approach issues such as working in partnership with industry and identifying potential new markets.
“The support of the industry, Defra and the Department of Internal Trade is vital to this ongoing work.”
Food and drink is the UK’s fourth largest exporting sector worth £18 billion a year, with exports of agricultural commodities alone valued at £6.25 billion a year.
Addressing stakeholders in the export hub, Ms Leadsom said the Government was there to help and would do so whenever it could to help farmers, growers and processors looking to sell their goods overseas.
“Last year we sold £18 billion of our food and drink across the world and I’m determined to build on this success,” she said.
“Through our Great British Food campaign I want to champion favourites from across the region both at home and abroad to help cement Britain’s reputation as a global food nation.”
AHDB also used the high profile occasion to unveil its dairy export activities until spring 2017.