China’s demand for lamb could impact supplies
Published:  21 August, 2013

China’s rising demand for higher value cuts of lamb could have a major impact on global supplies, sheepmeat bosses said.

This came to light when a UK sheepmeat delegation went to New Zealand to discuss price volatility with its counterparts in the country.

Eblex said China’s 1.4bn population would be the driving force behind the impact on global sheepmeat supplies.

Eblex director Nick Allen said: “New Zealand now has open access to the China market and it is creating a lot of opportunities for them, which they are naturally excited about. There is a huge demand for sheepmeat there and it is not just the cheaper cuts as may traditionally have been the case.

“This increased demand from the Far East will influence the global supply of lamb as New Zealand looks to take advantage of that market – something we cannot yet do. It means we could potentially avoid an unusually high flood of lamb cuts into the UK from New Zealand, as we got over a short period late last year.”

Through the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has made a new representative in Beijing.

Meanwhile, the delegation also met with Beef + Lamb New Zealand to discuss how to better understand market dynamics and improving long-term viability of the sheep meat sector.

NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said: “Despite all the technology we have in this day and age, there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. These were vital to gain a thorough understanding of the pressures the New Zealand sheepmeat industry faces, and I appreciate how candid everyone we met with was.

“What has come across more strongly than anything else is the common challenges we share. This has reinforced my view that there is an urgent need for all parties in supply chains to work more closely together to ensure the best product for the consumer and a thriving and profitable industry which is able to adapt to the changing world marketplace. This is true whether you farm in the UK or New Zealand.”