The fact the UK has the most efficient sheep industry in Europe would be a huge advantage, said MLC corporate strategy director Bob Bansback.
“Average producer returns have improved significantly since 2001, and despite prices currently being lower than last year, slaughterings are higher and prices still at good levels.”
Speaking at the British Meat Processors Association conference, he said the likely decline in other countries’ production due to the reforms
would also benefit the UK.
One challenge facing the sector, however, was EU pressure to introduce electronic tagging for sheep by 2008, he added. A study by HCC Meat Promotion Wales said the cost would be prohibitive.
Arwyn Owen, director of policy with the Farmers’ Union of Wales, said: “Set-up costs including equipment could be as much as £47m.” And annual running costs would be £7m.