The Falkland Islands is gearing up to export 40,000 tonnes of lamb annually to the UK within five years.
This year was the first time farmers on the islands have exported meat, successfully shipping 2,000 lamb and 20,000 mutton carcases - all frozen - to Britain. All the animals were slaughtered in an EU-certified abattoir built just two years ago.
The Falkland Islands Meat Company, which owns the abattoir in Sand Bay near the capital Stanley, said the territory would export 9,000 lamb carcases next season, with big increases in subsequent years.
The export drive is part of a 10-year plan to develop the Falklands’ red meat industry.
Government director of
agriculture on the Falklands, Phyl Rendell, said the red meat development plan was conceived in response to concerns about tough conditions in the wool market, traditionally important to the territory’s sheep farmers. This year’s lamb and mutton exports were worth £1m to the economy of the Falklands. There are 80 sheep farms on the Islands, with 550,000 animals between them. John Ferguson, operations manager at the Falkland Islands Meat Company, said the meat had been sold via wholesalers to independents and manufacturers.
Some had been purchased by foodservice provider 3663 for its MoD contract.
Ferguson said: “We’ve had good feedback. The meat has gone down very well.”Volumes were not yet high enough to consider winning listings for Falkland Islands lamb in the multiples, he added.
Beef was the next avenue ripe for exploration, said Rendell. “We haven’t exported beef before and we don’t have a licence,” she said. “Beef cows are slower to develop than sheep, but it’s an area we are looking into.”
Fans of Falklands lamb say it has a light colour and flavour.
Richard Clarke