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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 12:24 GMT
Welsh lamb exports resume
Oriel Jones workers
Workers at Oriel Jones prepare a consignment of lamb
A west Wales abattoir has resumed exporting lamb to Europe, for the first time since foot-and-mouth restrictions began in February.

Workers at the Oriel Jones and Son abattoir in Llanybydder, near Carmarthen, completed packaging a consignment for shipment on Tuesday.
Packaged lamb joint
Joint success: Welsh lamb is being exported once again

Further orders to France and Spain are expected before the end of the week.

Oriel Jones said the lifting of the export ban is good news not only for farmers but will also mean job security at the abattoir.

In north Wales, the Owen Owen plant in St Asaph has also resumed slaughtering lamb for the European market.

Before foot-and-mouth lamb exports were worth 100m to Welsh farmers - about half of all Welsh lamb production.

Major boost

Efforts to market Welsh lamb have been particularly successful in southern European countries, where the smaller Welsh mountain lambs are popular.

The resumption of lamb exports follows the partial lifting of the export ban imposed by the European Commission.

Areas which are regarded as disease-free have benefited, but south Powys - still an at risk area - is not yet able to export meat.

The EC decision was taken in Brussels earlier this month and will be a boost for lamb farmers in areas such as Gwynedd - which never had any foot-and-mouth cases - and Anglesey.
Carwyn Jones, Rural Affairs Minister
Carwyn Jones: Boost to producers

Attempts closer to home to boost lamb sales include large supermarkets chains like Iceland which have started to sell Welsh hill lambs, opening a much-needed new market.

The hope now is that this new market will help avoid any future unnecessary lamb culls.

The EU committee has also agreed to allow areas which have foot-and-mouth free status to export beef.

Nearer to home, Tesco stores in Wales have agreed to stock beef from 600 farms, in a deal worth 30m.

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Carwyn Jones, Welsh Rural Affairs Minister
"What we need are a number of outlets for farmers to be able to sell their produce"
See also:

31 Oct 01 | Wales
Lambs slaughter falls short
29 Oct 01 | England
Minister defends disease strategy
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