The value of food and drink exports from Wales has risen by almost 20% over the past 12 months.
Wales’ buoyant food and drink sector has helped spearhead UK exports over the past year.
Research shows the industry saw exports rise 20% over the course of the year to £337m, compared to a 9.5% increase for the UK.
And while the EU still remains the largest importer of Welsh food and drink, accounting for 72.4% of exports, there have also been major increases in exports to the Middle East and North Africa.
Driving this growth was meat and meat preparations, accounting for almost 22% of all food and drink exports from Wales during the period.
This latest data follows a push by the Welsh Government to raise Wales’ global profile.
This includes support for Welsh food and drink producers to take part in a number of trade visits during 2016 and 2017.
The missions saw businesses visit key markets such as Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Canada and the UAE and further visits are planned for the remainder of the year to Germany, the USA and France.
It also follows the recent TasteWales event, organised by the Welsh Government, which brought together Welsh food and drink producers, global buyers and food industry professionals in the largest ever showcase of Welsh food and drink.
Welcoming the figures, the cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “We are extremely proud of our high-quality food and drink and recognise the enormous value it brings to our economy. These figures are further testament to the reputation our food and drink is gaining around the world.
“I am delighted we are continuing to support the sector to expand its reach to new markets. Following our successful TasteWales event some of our producers are pursuing interest from buyers from all over the world.
“There are undoubtedly challenging times ahead. The EU remains our biggest export destination by quite a stretch. It is further proof of the threat a hard Brexit poses to our economy, which is why we continue to push the UK Government to priorities full and unfettered access to the single market and to avoid any new barriers which impede Welsh food and drink businesses from operating effectively.
“However, the increase in exports to markets outside of the EU is encouraging and with the quality of products we can boast in Wales I am confident we can continue to make excellent progress in new markets.”
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