UK - Farmers and retailers are being urged to plan ahead when it comes to lamb.
With the main lambing season getting into full swing, a good season in 2014, and Easter arriving early, now is the time to look to the future, according to the British National Farmers’ Union.
The NFU wants supermarkets to support British farming and show serious commitments to sourcing new season British lamb.
Recent polls also show that the public want to buy home-grown food, with 85 per cent of shoppers keen to see supermarkets selling more food from British farms.
NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe (pictured), who has now finished lambing for the season, has turned his thoughts towards the upcoming marketing period.
“It hasn’t been a bad year for lamb,” said Mr Sercombe. “Given the exchange rate, I think it has been a tribute to the high esteem in which our product is held, that exports for 2014 hit 40 per cent of production, even in a year where good weather meant more lambs forward. Opening more markets will be crucial in the future, an area where government support will be vital.
“We are now heading towards the time of year when many will be thinking about their Easter Sunday meal, which I would hope will be Red Tractor assured British lamb. For those farmers who take the risk to lamb early, the support of the British public for their product is essential, and that Easter uplift is a vital part of the marketing strategy for any early lambing flock.
“There is still plenty of British lamb about, both in terms of old season lamb, and there will be lambs coming through for Easter that were born in the earliest part of the 2015 season.
“I want this to be a year where we see everyone working together to make the most of what, I believe, is truly a world leading product. There is strong demand for lamb abroad, but we must have no illusions that the global climate may present challenges. With that in mind, the domestic market must remain robust if farmers are to see a decent return, and consumers are to get the product they demand.
“It has been heartening for me to open my newspaper and see adverts from a retailer showcasing the value and quality of Red Tractor lamb, and beef, and I hope that we will see more of this activity from more retailers than ever before in 2015.
“On that note, I would also add that if you love tasty British lamb and want more of it to be available in supermarkets and restaurants, please add your name to the thousands of people who already say: Great British Food gets My Vote.”
TheMeatSite News Desk