Welsh urge lifting of export ban

Welsh industry leaders are urging the government to consider a regional lift of the export ban.

Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) estimates that Wales is losing £285,00 per day in revenue because of the ban imposed after the discovery of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Surrey.

They have asked for the ban to be lifted regionally as soon as the disease is contained so that the industry can resume exports of Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef, which are valued at £2m per week.

"Over the last few years, HCC has achieved great gains in the export market for Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef, with a significant increase in some markets, such as Italy and France," said Gwyn Howells, HCC chief executive.

"We don't want to lose momentum - the longer the ban remains in place, the more likely it is that the consumer confidence that now exists for our products in Europe will be eroded."

HCC are also hoping for an early lifting of the movement restrictions, and has urged supermarkets to wait before making sourcing decisions that could seriously damage the long term sustainability of the Welsh meat supply chain.

"Rushing to buy more imports, at the expense of quality Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef would be a short sighted policy at this stage, with possible grave repercussions for both producer and retailer in the coming months," said Rees Roberts, HCC chairman.