This month Welsh meat will be promoted at two of the world’s most important food fairs in Hong Kong and Italy.

International Welsh red meat sales are worth more than £200 million a year and, with exports vital to the farming sector and the wider economy, trade food fairs play an important role in promoting Welsh meat to the world.

Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) the Welsh red meat promotion agency is aiming to increase exports further still by attending HOFEX 2013 and Tutto Food.

HOFEX 2013, hosted in Hong Kong between May 7th and 10th will also be attended by meat exporting companies and other Welsh firms who will be based in the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink pavilion. HCC’s aim will be to boost demand for Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef in the emerging markets of the Far East.

Milan will be the next stop for HCC, exhibiting Welsh Lamb to potential buyers from across Europe and the Middle East at Tutto Food between May 19th and 22nd.

“Exports of Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef totalled £200 million in 2011, with sheep skins and cattle hides adding a further £44 million to Wales’s overseas earnings,” said HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells. “These exports are vital in ensuring good returns for farmers and processors in Wales, which in turn helps sustain the rural economy.”

Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef both benefit from Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, which means that only livestock born and reared in Wales and processed in HCC-approved abattoirs can be legally described as Welsh.

“PGI is a great selling point for Welsh Beef and Welsh Lamb abroad,” said Mr Howells. “The status awarded by the European Commission is recognised and respected around the world and has helped HCC market our produce in markets across Europe, the Middle and Far East and North America.

“It has helped Welsh Lamb in particular become a global brand.”

It’s expected that more than 30,000 trade visitors from more than 85 countries will arrive in Hong Kong to make deals with exporters from across the world at HOFEX, while more than 50,000 buyers – mainly from Europe and the Middle East – are expected at Tutto.

“More than a third of Welsh Lamb production is exported which underlines the importance of the overseas market to Welsh farmers, processors and the communities in which they are based,” added Mr Howells.