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UK's Chance To Secure Beef Exports With China

29 November 2011

UK and CHINA - A massive demand for premium beef products and a reluctance to import from Japan following March’s earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster makes it more important than ever for the UK to secure an export certificate for China.

That was the National Beef Association’s (NBA) conclusion after a meeting on Thursday (24 November) at the Farmers Club, London, with five top vets from the Henan Provincial Animal Husbandry Bureau, China.

The vets had approached the NBA in order to meet UK beef producers in person. The NBA responded by arranging a meeting between three farmers, representing the South West, Midlands and Scotland, and involving EBLEX to give some facts and figures on UK production.

Questions from the Chinese delegates focused on how they could improve the quality and quantity of their beef production, focusing on genetics, feeding and meat processing. They asked specifically about inspections in abattoirs, penalties for non-compliant farmers and compensation for disease outbreaks.

Their questions were angled towards China becoming self sufficient in beef and independent from imports from Japan, the USA and Canada. However, production would need to more than double for this to happen and, could the UK secure a much sought-after export certificate for China, there is very clearly a market for British product.

Hamish McBean, NBA Chairman and one of the farmers hosting the visitors, says: “It was a pleasure to meet the Chinese delegation, as we learnt as much from them as they did from us. Their questions were fascinating and they clearly admire the UK’s ability to cater for the high value, premium market. There is definitely a gap in the Chinese market that the UK could fill, which makes us securing an export certificate for China more important than ever.”

Jonathan Eckley of Eblex, who joined the NBA contingent, says: “While the process of gaining certification is a lengthy and complex one, it is important that we interact with Chinese representatives, such as these vets, in the meantime.”

The vets were from the Henan Province, which is in the middle of China, 600km South of Beijing. This is the main agricultural area of China, with 10 million beef cattle and 950,000 dairy. The beef cows are predominately Simmental and Charolais and are separated from their calf at one month of age to be milked for the human diary sector.

The beef and dairy sectors are intensive with little outside grazing and near 100 per cent use of Artificial Insemination. Beef animals are finished at an average of 500kg liveweight under 18 months and sold for approximately 108p/kg liveweight, retailing at around £4/kg in the supermarkets.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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