Belfast Telegraph

Kuwait to reintroduce UK lamb after ban over concerns around disease

UK lamb will soon be back on the menu across Kuwait following a deal worth up to £15 million, the Government has announced.

Work on the deal started in 2012 and followed a ban on UK lamb introduced by Kuwait due to concerns around scrapie, a degenerative disease that affects the nervous systems of sheep and goats.

The re-opened trade route was announced during food minister George Eustice's visit to the Gulf to promote British food and drink and strengthen the UK's trading relationship with the market.

Three UK suppliers are ready to benefit from the five-year deal, with shipments expected to leave soon.

The UK exported £625 million worth of food and drink to the region last year, including £80 million of cereal and £22 million of cheese.

Total lamb exports from the UK reached £330 million in 2016, up from £300 million the previous year.

Mr Eustice said: "British lamb has a fantastic reputation around the world for its taste and quality and I'm delighted that this export success will now be available for diners in Kuwait.

"This move to re-open the market for UK-produced lamb is another example of how we are working hard to tap into new international markets and build stronger relationships with trading partners around the world."

The trade mission included a visit to Gulfood in Dubai, where cereal brand Mornflake from Cheshire and a mozzarella producer from Durham were among around 100 UK food and drink companies exhibiting at the world's largest annual trade show.

Jean-Pierre Garnier, head of export trade development at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), said: "We have found for some time a high level of appetite from Kuwaiti importers and distributors for British lamb and are delighted to be able at last to supply this market.

"We are committed to expanding sales of meat and dairy products in the Gulf region and support the Government's export work.

"Our presence at the important Gulfood exhibition with meat and dairy stands testifies our willingness to grow sales and open new markets."

As part of his visit, Mr Eustice witnessed the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding allowing greater collaboration between the UK Government and Gulf on projects in aquaculture, fisheries, climate change and marine environments.

The first was with the UAE ministry of climate change and environment and the second was with the Gulf-wide Regional Organisation for Protection of the Marine Environment.