UK venison imports set to double

19 August 2016 by
UK venison imports set to double

The Scottish Venison Partnership (SVP) has forecast that the amount of venison the UK imports will more than double in five years' time, if current market trends continue.

Currently around 3,800 tonnes of venison is produced by the UK, with 70% coming from Scotland's wild deer cull.

Imports coming from New Zealand stood at 900 tonnes in 2015, with additional product coming from Poland, Ireland, Spain and other European countries.

Bill Bewsher, chairman of the Scottish Venison Partnership, said: "We import farmed venison because as yet the UK cannot produce enough volume from farmed stock which gives consistency in terms of age, colour, eatability and conformation of the meat.

The SVP estimates that the UK consumption of venison has increased at around 10% per year, meaning that UK consumption, on this basis, will double to 6,000 tonnes by 2021.

However, if domestic production only increases by 5% per year, imported venison will double to meet the UK market demand.

Bewsher said: "Our latest estimates are that the UK production capacity, wild and farmed, will total some 4,800 tonnes by 2021 of which up to one third may be exported. To fulfill UK market demand this would mean importing almost 3,000 tonnes, which is clearly good news for New Zealand's deer industry and for venison producers in Europe."

The number of deer farms in the UK is increasing, since Scottish deer farmers were made eligible for the basic payment, and the Scottish Government has been supporting initiatives such as the Deer Farm and Park Demonstration Project.

The Deer Farm and Park Demonstration Project was an initiative carried out between 2014 and 2015, to educate those interested in deer farming about the farmed and park deer sector. The initiative was the first of its kind giving farmers the chance to visit successful deer farms, meet with the owners and attend talks and demonstrations with experts.

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