The mentorship programme aims to help UK food producers and farmers enter new markets for the first time by matching them with experienced exporters.

Run in partnership between the Department for International Trade (DIT), the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), the scheme will provide practical help and advice to aspiring exporters through roundtables, mentoring sessions and newsletters.

DIT stated there is global demand for British agriculture and food businesses, with the UK exporting £21.7 billion worth of food and drink in 2020.

“We are determined to help UK farmers make the most of the new trade deals we’re striking across the world,” said Liz Truss, secretary of state for international trade. “This new mentor programme matches experienced exporters with our brilliant farmers and food producers to help them open even more doors to the fastest-growing consumer markets.

“UK farmers are at the heart of our trade policy, and we are working in lockstep with partners like the AHDB, the NFU to unleash our global exporting potential and fly the flag for British food and drink.”

The first round of unpaid mentors will focus on dairy and red meat, with seafood and packaged/processed food mentoring programmes following later this year.

The scheme is part of DIT’s new strategy to boost agriculture exports into new markets, as 97% of the food and drink sector are small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) but only one in five food and drink businesses export.