Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns has welcomed the Government’s new ‘bounce back’ plan for the agriculture, food and drink industry as they seek to grow their trade activity overseas and benefit from the numerous Free Trade Agreements being negotiated around the world.
The strategic interventions are being delivered by the Department for International Trade in partnership with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and will offer immediate support to help businesses in the industry increase their international trade.
A new programme of physical and virtual events that have been tailored to help businesses in this industry will soon be launched including; an overseas virtual buyer trial, a ‘Smart Distance Selling Process’, and a package of ‘Ready to Trade’ exporting masterclass webinars.
Building on the Department for International Trade’s E-exporting Programme, a new SME E-commerce Accelerator pilot will also be launched to increase international E-commerce backing for SMEs in the agriculture, food and drink industry.
Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns, said:
“Rutland and Melton’s agriculture, food and drink industry has played a pivotal role in feeding the nation throughout the crisis. As we rebuild our country I’m determined that we recognise and support these wonderful sectors and have been lobbying Ministers to better support our food and drink producers.
“We produce some of the best food and drink in the country – I want to put the Rural Capital of Food on the map, and ensure that we get the national and international investment our local agriculture, food and drink producers deserve. Today’s announcement will help us capitalise from the opportunities being opened up by new Free Trade Agreements with exciting new partners.”
The full range of measures announced today include:
- Launch of a GREAT DIT Food & Drink Exporting Masterclass, an extensive and bespoke programme of webinars to be produced in conjunction with trade associations, UK regions, including Devolved Administrations, and DIT’s international network, all supported by DIT’s Export Specialists.
- Launch of Food & Drink SME E-commerce Accelerator Pilot to leverage DIT’s E-exporting Programme to increase the level of international e-commerce support for food and drink SMEs, including agri-tech. This will include the offer of one-to-one e-commerce export clinics with the programme’s e-commerce specialists and regional advisers, a new series of industry webinars and podcasts focussed on highlighting the opportunities available to export through e-marketplaces internationally, as well as virtual workshops on internationalising their websites for those companies selling direct to consumers in various markets around the world.
- Promote 50 Food and Drink Export Champions to stimulate aspiring exporters, while utilising International Trade Advisor specialist networks focused on agri-food.
- Announce the first Defra Agri-food Counsellor serving the UAE and wider Gulf Region, with the role focussing on supporting our food and drink sector and representing the interests of UK businesses already exporting to the area, as well as those looking to export for the first time. The new Defra-funded Regional Agri-Food Counsellor will be based in Dubai and will work alongside DIT’s existing sector leads in the UAE, providing specialist knowledge and engagement in Government to Government discussions on behalf of UK interests and sectors. She will also support food and drink promotion activity at the UK pavilion at World Expo in 2021, identifying opportunities for new markets and further developing existing export relationships.
- Launch of a programme of physical and virtual events, using innovative, interactive software to connect buyers, promote the UK and reach international markets. This will include: an overseas virtual buyer trial working directly with chosen US buyers through a virtual delivery programme; and developing a UK ‘Smart Distance Selling Process’, which includes the dispatch of food and drink samples to buyers.
- Leveraging Defra’s Food is GREAT campaign, which will extend into the UAE and the EU later this year, to provide impactful and targeted activity in priority export markets, such as USA, China and Japan. This also will be complemented by new agri-food creative imagery within DIT’s GREAT Ready to Trade campaign when this resumes in the summer, under the Food is GREAT and Invest in GREAT pillars.
- Two Virtual Investor Roundtables chaired by Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment, with agri-food and drink, and agri-tech companies to inform the development of the UK’s investment strategy, the UK Agri-Tech International Strategy and the launch of Phase 2 of the High Potential Opportunity Programme.
- Uplift of UK Export Finance’s “Exporters’ Edge” campaign to further outreach and engagement to identify and respond to the needs of the industry and raise awareness of how UKEF and Trade Finance can help the businesses win and fulfil export contracts. UKEF is also accelerating the development of its products to allow a wider range of UK exporters to access its support. Its enhanced offer will provide easier access to working capital for UK exporters by offering financing that is not tied to specific export contracts but instead supports general business activities.
Alicia Kearns MP continues to liaise with local and national stakeholders to ensure the views of the agriculture sector are fed back to Ministers, and the industry receives the support it needs.