The Government has announced that the UK’s dairy industry is set to be boosted by a new programme to increase exports.

The Dairy Export Programme, which Minister for Exports Lord Offord formally launched during a visit to Lye Cross Farm in Bristol, will help UK agri-businesses grow by “seizing new export opportunities and exploiting overseas markets for their products through a comprehensive package of export support”, according to the UK Government.

The Prime Minister committed £1 million to the dairy sector at the Farm to Fork Summit hosted at 10 Downing Street in May. Government said that the Dairy Export Programme is a direct result of this funding and forms part of a wider package of Government support for agriculture, food and drink. This includes an investment of £2 million to boost the Department for Business and Trade’s (DBT) programme of global tradeshows and missions, which will be delivered in partnership with industry and the Food and Drink Export Council.

The programme aims to provide a wide range of targeted support for businesses, through education sessions on how to boost exports and target new markets and trade promotion activity, including an inward buyer trade mission and a UK Dairy Showcase.

It will also provide resource in priority markets dedicated to supporting dairy exports and market intelligence support to help businesses exploit overseas opportunities.

Building on existing support

Minster for Exports Lord Offord said: “Growing the agri, food and drink sector is key to growing our economy, and I am delighted to launch the Dairy Export Programme which will help businesses grasp exciting new opportunities around the world.

“Last year our dairy exporters sold £2 billion of products to markets worldwide, and the work we are doing to strike up new trade deals will only see that figure rise further and move us forward in the race to £1 trillion of exports by 2030.”

The Government stated that the UK dairy industry is among the best in the world and is renowned for being ambitious and innovative, with SMEs making up a large proportion of the sector and exporting over £2 billion of goods a year to over 135 countries.

It said the Dairy Export Programme will build on strong existing support for the sector from DBT, which this year has included facilitating buyer tastings at Anuga, the key international food and drink trade show in Cologne, a dairy showcase at Foodex in Japan, and supporting dairy companies exhibiting at the Food and Hospitality China trade show in Shanghai.

Food and drink companies also benefit from support through DBT’s Export Support Service, Export Academy, UK Export Finance and a network of International Trade Advisers.

DBT has more than 100 advisers overseas who are focused on the agriculture, food and drink sector and who work alongside agri-attachés to tackle barriers and boost exports.

Dairy industry welcomes Dairy Export Programme

AHDB CEO Tim Rycroft said: “International trade remains critical to the sector. Export development is at the heart of what AHDB does, showcasing our high-quality produce at international trade shows and hosting inward missions for key international buyers.

“It will support our ambition to help increase market access and international sales by championing the reputation of UK products overseas, as well as encouraging more businesses to export.”

NFU Dairy Board chair Michael Oakes said: “The NFU has been working closely with dairy producers, exporters and Government through the Dairy Export Taskforce to examine ways to reduce trade barriers for dairy, improve market access and identify new opportunities for growth.

“This new £1 million programme shows how industry and government collaboration can help drive UK dairy exports, target new markets and bolster our exporting strength. With the global demand for dairy set to rise significantly, the UK should be leading the way when it comes to the trade of safe, high-quality and sustainable UK dairy products.”

Peter Dawson, Policy and Sustainability director Dairy UK and chair of the Dairy Export Taskforce said: “Exports by dairy processors make a major contribution to the UK economy and there is considerable potential for growth. We welcome the support package announced… and look forward to continuing to work closely with DBT to maximise its benefit for dairy exporters and the dairy supply chain in general.”

Rod Addy, director general of the Provision Trade Federation, said: “Dairy processors, through The Dairy Export Taskforce, have been instrumental in working with Government to craft a detailed support plan for industry, drawing on the £1m funding pledged at the Farm to Fork Summit. The PTF is encouraged that Government has listened to members and the wider sector and has developed this package of proposals. UK dairy exporters such as Lye Cross Farm generate millions in revenue and have even greater future potential. The challenge now is to deliver on the detail of these plans and for Government to continue to help in overcoming barriers to overseas trade.”