Trade Secretary opens farmers' summit hoping to boost dairy exports

Industry experts discussed plans to double the value of dairy exports at a farmers' summit held in Shropshire.

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP opened the NFU Dairy Export Summit at Harper Adams University
Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP opened the NFU Dairy Export Summit at Harper Adams University

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP visited Harper Adams University on Wednesday to open the conference, which saw experts from across the dairy industry discuss boosting UK dairy exports.

Plans to double the value of dairy exports over the next 10 years were discussed at the National Farmers' Union Dairy Exports Summit.

The summit was held jointly with the Department for International Trade and follows on from the launch of the union’s Dairy Export Strategy.

The strategy set out a range of recommendations that will seek to enhance the industry’s export performance and sell more British dairy products overseas.

Ms Badenoch opened the conference before representatives from across the industry including Muller, at Market Drayton, and Belton Cheese, at Whitchurch, examined how the dairy sector and government can best work together to boost British exports on the global stage.

"British agriculture, especially our dairy producers, are vital to the UK economy," said Ms Badenoch.

"The UK’s reputation is one of high standards, environmental protections and quality goods and I am determined to ensure we remain world leaders in the dairy market.

"When more farmers trade and export, it means more jobs, higher wages and a stronger economy."

Regional farmer Michael Oakes, NFU dairy board chair, said the summit was a great sounding board for producers, processors and exporters to highlight some of the challenges they faced and identify opportunities to help accelerate export growth.

"Over the past few years we have developed a fantastic reputation around the world for quality and already export nearly £2bn worth of dairy products to more than 135 countries across Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East," the Rednal farmer said.

"If the UK dairy sector wants to be a major player in global trade and find new emerging markets, and add value to the sector, now is the time to drive our exports and capitalise on the tremendous global support that already exists for great British dairy products."

Dairy farmer James Chatham, of Brockton, near Shifnal, who represents Shropshire farmers on the NFU West Midlands dairy board said that British milk was high welfare and produced to world-beating standards and demand for it remained high, including for products that could be exported to markets overseas.

"Any opportunity for dairy farmers to improve their bottom line and for the industry as a whole to strength further and expand has to be welcome and Shropshire farmers and those further afield are always interested in new markets and new opportunities."

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