Why Irish lamb has got an unexpected boost in UK sales since Brexit
Despite warnings over the impact of Brexit on the agri-food sector Irish lamb exports to the UK are up significantly this spring, according to latest figures from the Bord Bia.
Boosted by a dramatic fall in New Zealand lamb on the UK market it says exports from Ireland were up by almost 7% in the first three month of 2017.
According to Declan Fennell, of Bord Bia a number of other factors also has contributed to the increase including an increase in Irish production of lamb with is back near record highs of 2009.
However, developments in UK/NZ trade was a key factor in the boost to Irish exports. He highlights currency exchange rate movements between Sterling and the New Zealand dollar which has seen Kiwi lamb 19% more expensive on the EU market. Futher, New Zealand trade with China has increased substantially up some 30% year to date.
It comes as here at home Tesco has come under fire from farmers for in their view undermining premium spring lamb producers by offloading spring lamb at 'unsustainably' low prices in shops.
Irish Cattle and Sheep Association sheep chairman John Brooks said Tesco is currently selling leg of spring lamb at what he described as a ‘ridiculously low price’ of €8.69/kg.
“This can only be described as below cost selling,” he said and added that the move will have the effect of “putting farmers out of business”.
ICSA is calling for this practice to stop immediately. Brooks says farmers need at least €7/kg for high cost early spring lamb systems and allowing for processing costs, it is clear that a retail price of €8.69/kg is unsustainable.