Imports on the rise

The impact of CAP reform is beginning to take effect, according to a report in the Scotsman.

The introduction of a single farm payment was widely expected to lead to a decline in meat production, as farmers receive payment even if they cut back on their output.

The paper reports that figures released by Revenue and Customs show that in the first quarter of this year the UK imported 3,000t more beef than the equivalent period in 2006. Over 45,000t of this beef came from EU countries, with the Republic of Ireland the largest supplier at nearly 37,000t.

Brazil remains the largest non-EU supplier to the UK, despite fears over the Foot & Mouth disease and a ban on imports from three Brazilian provinces.

According to the paper UK beef exports totalled more than £31m in the first quarter, with the Netherlands as the leading destination.

The pig sector has fallen by almost a quarter in the past decade in numerical terms, which has led to an increase in imports of pork and bacon.

Pig imports reached 117,400t in the first quarter of this year compared to 103,228t in the equivalent period last year.

Only poultry imports have decreased, with the value of the trade falling from £173.2m to £165.4m. Exports of poultry have risen by almost £4m to £42.1m.

Overall, UK imports of meat during the first quarter of this year have amounted to more than £975m, while exports amounted to just £174.4m.