THE Minister for Exports, Lord Malcolm Offord, visited a South West farm last week for the launch of a new dairy export programme. 

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, made the commitment for a £1million bespoke export during the Farm to Form Summit in May. 

Lord Offord officially launched the programme during a visit to Lye Cross Farm near Bristol last Thursday, November 9. 

“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," said Lord Offord. 

“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.

“After walking around the factory here at Lye Cross Farm, my impressions are that it’s automated, it’s modern, it’s ambitious, and I’m really impressed by the amount of UK labour that is working here as well which is terrific.

“Going into the warehouse and seeing the cheese is going all over the world, that makes me feel very proud – that’s what we like to see, made in Britain, best of British, sold to the world.”

South West Farmer: Peter Alvis gives a tour of the farm.Peter Alvis gives a tour of the farm. (Image: NFU)

The announcement of the new programme, which is aimed at growing British dairy exports, was welcomed by the National Farmers' Union (NFU). They say it is a 'significant boost' for the dairy sector. 

NFU dairy board chair Michael Oakes attended the launch. He added: “It’s been really good to have the minister here in the South West, visiting a family business that supports other family businesses who supply them with milk for their cheese.

“British dairy is a success story. We are an ambitious and innovative sector, producing products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter to some of the highest environmental and animal welfare standards in the world.

“Although the industry already exports over £2bn worth of dairy and products such as whey to more than 135 countries, we have an ambition to double that value within the next decade.  As set out in the NFU’s Dairy Export Strategy, boosting exports requires commitment and resource from government, working in partnership with industry, to help create market opportunities and enable growth.

“This funding commitment from government will boost on-going market development work and support dairy specific trade promotion We must continue to see joint industry and government collaboration on reducing barriers to trade and improving market access.  It’s why we helped set up the Dairy Export Taskforce alongside industry partners, dairy producers and government to grow the export of British products to the rest of the world.

“It puts the UK dairy industry in a strong position to bolster our global exports and sets a global standard when it comes to trading sustainable, climate-friendly dairy products.”

Lye Cross Farm's managing director, Peter Alvis, hosted the event. He said Lord Offord was 'really engaged' and 'very aware' of exporting issues. 

South West Farmer: Peter Alvis gives Lord Offord cheeses from the farm. Image: NFUPeter Alvis gives Lord Offord cheeses from the farm. Image: NFU (Image: NFU)

“Having Lord Offord here has been a really great visit, talking a lot about exports and access to new markets and also about making sure we get continuity in the existing markets which is really important to a lot of dairy businesses," he said. 

"He seems to have a really great grasp of what we as an exporting business are looking for and it’s really good to see the funds being put into helping drive exports and new markets.”