UK food exports to the EU in February remained well below last year's levels, despite them recovering from the slump in January.
Exports of all food and live animals recovered to £700m in February after dropping to £400m in the first month of 2021, according to new ONS figures.
However, the UK exported £900m of goods in these categories in February 2020, indicating that exports are still down 29% since leaving the EU.
The data for meat and meat preparations showed an even larger deficit, with exports to the EU down 42% on the previous year, to £66 million.
Responding to the figures, the National Pig Association (NPA) said the UK was 'still a long way short of previous trade numbers'.
The body warned that live pig exports were still not possible due to the lack of border infrastructure at the Channel ports.
NPA senior policy adviser, Charlie Dewhirst said: "The pandemic will still be affecting export opportunities but there is plenty more work to do to tackle the systemic problems.
“Obviously it’s encouraging to see exports recover from the dire situation in January but we are still a long way short of previous trade numbers.
"We need to improve and modernise our trading processes with the EU to help the pig sector recapture the export market and sell our world class produce on the continent.”
In January, overall pig meat - including offal - shipments fell by nearly a half compared with a year ago to only 15,600 tonnes.
This was driven overwhelmingly by a fall in EU exports, which amounted to just 2,500 tonnes, a reduction of 13,000 tonnes (-84%) year on year.