UK exports of fresh and frozen sheepmeat saw a significant rise in February of this year in comparison to the same month in 2021.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said that in February of this year, UK sheepmeat exports totalled 6,300t, up 37% (1,700t) year-on-year. 

This volume, the AHDB noted, is similar to pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit levels and the EU remained the main destination.

Furthermore, imports of fresh and frozen sheepmeat saw a substantial increase year-on-year by 66% during the month of February to 4,700t.

Commenting, Rebecca Wright of the AHDB said: “This puts import volumes at their highest level for a February since 2018.

“Although there was a small rise in shipments from New Zealand and Australia (up 400t and 300t on the year respectively) the majority of the increase was recorded in shipments from Ireland, up 1,100t.”

Source: AHDB

“Traditionally, imports of legs have made up around 40% of UK imports during the early part of the year. However, over the past two years this volume has dropped sharply, and this February, less than a quarter of the growth in imports can be attributed to leg cuts,” she continued.

“It was expected that volumes would be higher than last year, reflecting the fact that the UK wasn’t in lockdown and the foodservice sector was open for business.”

Lastly, in the year to February, total import volumes stood at 9,100t, up 2,300t compared to year-earlier levels, the AHDB added.