Saturday, August 8, 2020

UK launches ‘bounce back’ plan for food and agriculture industry

The government has announced a ‘bounce back’ plan of trade for agriculture, food and drink businesses impacted by coronavirus.

Jointly announced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the measures will offer immediate support to help businesses in the industry grow their trade activity overseas.

The measures have been developed with insight from the devolved administrations, trade associations, businesses and DIT’s regional and international networks.

The ‘bounce back’ plan introduces a new programme of physical and virtual events that have been tailored to help a variety of businesses and exporters. These include an overseas virtual buyer trial, a ‘Smart Distance Selling Process’, and a package of ‘Ready to Trade’ Exporting Masterclass webinars.

Leveraging DIT’s existing E-exporting Programme, the measures also include the launch of a new SME E-commerce Accelerator Pilot to increase the level of international e-commerce backing for SMEs in the food and drink industry.

The plan will also see the introduction of Defra’s first Agri-food Counsellor serving the Gulf. In this new role, they will support the UK’s food and drink industry and represent the interests of UK businesses already exporting, or planning to export, to the region.

These measures are being announced as part of a programme of support for the agriculture, food and drink industry to ensure they benefit from new trade and investment opportunities – including future free trade agreements (FTAs).

“Support on this scale from UK Government is extremely welcome at this uncertain time. The package of measures is testament to the close and long-running work between FDF, DIT and Defra to boost our exports performance. Our success in restarting and expanding exports will be absolutely vital in aiding the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery,” said Ian Wright, Chief Executive of the Food and Drink Federation.

AHDB’s International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley said: “Coronavirus has had a big impact on the UK’s export activity and while we continue to ship our produce around the world, the challenges of the pandemic have been strongly felt in all sectors.

“Therefore, we are very encouraged to see this ‘bounce back’ plan, which will provide significant support to many of the UK businesses we assist in growing their overseas trade.”

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