Defra has announced plans for the appointment of five new agri-food attachés who will work to boost the UK’s agri-food exports.
The UK now has 16 dedicated UK agri-food attachés who work to broaden market access, break down barriers and drive export growth in priority export markets.
The new attachés cover Northern and Southern Europe, Africa, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, with existing ones covering the Americas, China, Japan and the Gulf states.
The announcement of two attaché's in Europe comes at a time where more than 69% of the UK's food and live animal trade remains with the EU.
Meanwhile, it is hoped that the appointment of an attaché in South Korea will support the development of a more ambitious trade agreement.
The agri-food attachés will have a key role in building and maintaining the right operating environment for UK exporter interests in overseas markets.
They will work closely with Department for International Trade officials based overseas, including reporting into the government’s Regional Trade Commissioners.
They will also have the support of Defra’s Export Team, based in the UK, and will be working closely with other UK-based market access and policy teams.
Responding to the news, the NFU said it had long called for government investment to expand the number of dedicated agri-food representatives overseas.
The union's president, Minette Batters said: “We have campaigned for a number of years to increase the number of agri-food attachés representing the interests of British farmers internationally and we are delighted that they are now in post.
“We have an ambition to increase our high-quality, climate-friendly British food exports by 30% by 2030.
"The new attachés will be beneficial in growing these markets and ensuring that consumers across the world can enjoy British food.”