UK food and drink producers encouraged to export

Defra has launched a Food is GREAT campaign, combined with a Food and Drink Action Plan, to raise UK exports to £1 trillion and ‘to get 100,000 more companies exporting’.

Although food and drink is Britain’s largest manufacturing sector, employing 400,000 workers-15% of the national manufacturing workforce-and has a turnover of £90 million, Defra says there is ‘huge untapped potential for export among small and medium-sized businesses’; 90% are not exporting, and most others only do so with close European neighbours.

Part of the plan is to showcase the industry in Asia and South America, as well as Europe and North America, with buyers and suppliers taken abroad to meet local producers.

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Caroline Drummond, chief executive of LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), welcomes the initiative. ‘We have a lot of catching up to do to top the expertise across the globe, so this will provide a much-needed boost to build confidence and ambition in the industry,’ she comments. ‘However, we need to ensure that it is in a way that also grows the value, capability and investment to our farmers.’

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