Major British retailers are stocking too much New Zealand lamb and not enough local product for this time of year, a senior MP has said.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee chairman Neil Parish urged ministers to bring this to the attention of UK supermarkets, saying they should not be "packed" with New Zealand lamb.

Speaking at environment questions, Conservative MP Mr Parish said lamb prices were trading significantly less this year than last year at this time.

"New Zealand lamb comes in during the winter, when our lambs are not coming out.

"There seems to be too much New Zealand lamb in our major retailers and not enough British lamb, and I really would like the ministers to bring that to the attention of the major retailers, that British lambs should now be in the shops.

"It shouldn't be packed with New Zealand lamb."

However, environment minister George Eustice says that a number of British farmers have chosen to sell their lamb early this year, meaning there was less available for the usual spring boom.

"I know that at Easter people really want to buy high-quality West Country lamb, high-quality Welsh lamb, and indeed Scottish lamb and lamb from every other part of the United Kingdom.

"There was an issue, I believe, this year in that prices were actually very good during the winter, and that meant that a number of sheep producers decided to sell their lamb early, which means there's been less British lamb available at this time of year."

NZ Newswire

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