THE value of food and drink exports from Wales increased by 20 per cent in 2016, more than twice as much as across the UK as a whole.
The provisional data shows the value of food and drink exports from Wales in 2016 was £337,3 million, up 19.8 per cent on 2015. In comparison, the increase across the whole of the UK was 9.5 per cent.
While the EU still remains the largest importer of Welsh food and drink, accounting for 72.4% of exports, there have been major increases in exports to the Middle East and North Africa.
The top Welsh food and drink export for the year was meat and meat preparations, accounting for almost 22% of all food and drink exports.
The latest data follows a push by the Welsh Government to raise Wales’ global profile. This includes support for Welsh food and drink producers to take part in a number of trade visits during 2016 and 2017 to key markets including Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, with further visits planned for the remainder of the year to Germany, the USA and France.
It also follows the recent TasteWales event, organised by the Welsh Government, which brought together Welsh food and drink producers, global buyers and food industry professionals in the largest ever showcase of Welsh food and drink.
Welcoming the figures, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “We are extremely proud of our high-quality food and drink and recognise the enormous value it brings to our economy.
“These figures are further testament to the reputation our food and drink is gaining around the world.”