The government is backing a drive to boost exports of British food and drink to high growth markets like India and China in a move that it insists will be an “engine for economic growth”.
Announcing the Farming, Food and Drink Exports Action Plan — which outlines how the government and industry will work together to open up key markets — agriculture minister Jim Paice said that world population growth and booming consumer demand for Western products in high growth economies were creating significant opportunities for British producers to increase profits.
“British food is already known the world over for its quality, and with surging world population growth and demand for western products, there are huge opportunities for our producers to tap into emerging markets,” said Paice.
“It’s crucial we get the right support to business at home as well as championing British products abroad,” he added.
UK food and drink exports grew by 12% in 2010 to £16.1 billion, but the UK still exports more food to Belgium than to Brazil, Russia, India, China and Mexico put together.
The UK also still imports more food than it exports — with a trade gap of £18.5 billion in 2009.
The report sets out plans for a domestic drive to encourage and support manufacturers to succeed overseas, as well as an overseas campaign to champion British food abroad.
The exports plan was developed by Defra, UK Trade and Investment, industry trade associations and top exporting companies.
The Exports Action Plan will see the government hold regional road shows and B2B networking events to share best practice and encourage companies to export, as well as look at ways to make food export paperwork simpler and easier to access.