SHEEP MEAT from the UK will soon be heading to India for the first time in a deal which could be worth around £6m over the next five years, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

The levy-funded board described the Indian agreement as 'another fantastic boost for farmers and producers' in the UK – but with sheep meat exports already worth £386m internationally, and the lion's share of that via the European Union, the Indian market is of more interest for its future potential than what it can be expected to absorb right away.

Agreement to open exports to the sub-continent came after a detailed process of inspections and negotiations led by Defra, AHDB, and a variety of food standards and certification bodies.

“India represents a smaller market for our sheep meat exports but one with the potential for future growth due to its growing population and income, said the levy board's international market development director Dr Phil Hadley.

“Access to this new market is the result of ongoing work by government, AHDB and key industry stakeholders and provides us with another non-European market for our sheep meat exports. This announcement is once again a testament to the high quality produce and world-class standards we have here in the UK.”