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Venison import fears

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Venison imports could dramatically overtake domestic production volumes in the next five years, the Scottish Venison Partnership (SVP) has warned. They forecast that if UK market trends continue, the UK will import more than double the amount of venison it does now in five years time.

The SVP estimates that the total annual UK venison production is now 3,800 tonnes. However, imports from New Zealand stood at 17,000 carcase equivalents or 900 tonnes in 2015, with additional imports into the UK from Poland, Ireland, Spain and other European countries.

“The UK imports around one third of the venison that it consumes,” said SVP chairman Bill Bewsher. “We export to Europe about one third of what we produce – mostly venison from roe deer and late season red from stags, although this will vary subject to fluctuations in the Euro exchange rate.

“We import farmed venison, which gives consistency in terms of age, colour, eatability and conformation of the meat, because as yet the UK does not produce enough volume from its own farmed stock.”

SVP estimates about a 10% increase year-on-year and, on this basis, UK consumption of venison will grow from 3,800 to more than 6,000 tonnes by 2021. However if domestic production only increased by 5% per annum, imports would be double what they are now by 2020 to meet UK market demand by 2021, SVP claimed.