During the summer two years ago, while the Balearics' sheep flocks were hit by the Blue Tongue virus, which lead to thousands of animals being slaughtered in Majorca and Minorca, a number of local supermarkets started stocking Welsh lamb and now the Welsh lamb industry is looking to expand its exports to the Balearics and Spain. Ironically, while the Balearics were trying to contain the Blue Tongue virus, UK farmers were struck down with foot-and-mouth and Majorca is one of the target areas for the Welsh lamb industry as it looks to rebuild its export market. At the start of the year, an export campaign was launched and it appears to be proving successful with 150 supermarkets in Majorca already stocking Welsh lamb and many more set to follow suit. Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions Ltd says it has had hundreds of inquiries which could be worth millions of pounds to the Welsh livestock industry from the Balearics and Spain. Recently Welsh lamb was promoted at the 16th Salon Internacional Del Club De Gourmets hosted in Madrid and the response from the Spanish market was extremely positive. This Madrid Show, was an aggressive follow-up to the “very keen inquiries” received by the team while at the Alimentaria food exhibition, in Barcelona, held back in early March, and now the Welsh lamb sector is planning to intensify its market strategy in Majorca, Andalucia, Galicia and Aragon with a new promotional campaign which is aimed directly at the consumer. Before the export ban on British meat, enforced because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak, Wales was one of the biggest suppliers of lamb to a number of European countries. However, news of the Welsh lamb bid for the Balearics is going to do little to help the region's ailing agricultural sector. Both Minorca and Majorca are large producers of lamb, but in the face of competition from an international market leader, local farmers are going to have problems, especially those who lost thousands of sheep last year and are still trying to rebuild their flocks as the compensation gradually arrives.

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