MLC OUTLOOK CONFERENCE - Shrewd planning needed in light of freer trade

THE UK red meat industry must respond to the collapse in trade barriers in light of WTO and CAP reform with shrewd business planning, said Steve Ellwood, head of agriculture at HSBC Bank.

Mr Ellwood said support was vital for short-term survival for red meat producers.

He said the period between now and the final details of the WTO negotiations coming together was the perfect opportunity for the industry to plan for the future.

How long that period would be, he said, was hard to say given the amount of time it had taken to get to the current position.

He championed the work of the Red Meat Industry Forum as an effective, supportive tool in helping the industry manage change.

Mr Ellwood said: "The first issue that we need to try and resolve is that, if there's going to be a sustainable, profitable red meat chain, then everyone in the chain has to recognise it's not just about price, it's about value."