A new government programme to increase UK dairy exports has been welcomed by the industry.

The Department for Business and Trade's Dairy Export Programme was launched by Minister for Exports Lord Offord during a visit to Lye Cross Farm in Bristol.

It aims to help UK agri-businesses grow by seizing new export opportunities and exploiting overseas markets for their products through a comprehensive package of export support.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak committed £1m to the dairy sector at the Farm to Fork Summit hosted at 10 Downing Street in May. The Dairy Export Programme is a direct result of this funding and forms part of a wider package of Government support for agriculture, food and drink.

The programme will provide a wide range of targeted support for businesses, through education sessions on how to boost exports and target new markets and trade promotion activity, including an inward buyer trade mission and a UK Dairy Showcase.

It will also provide specialist resource in priority markets dedicated to supporting dairy exports and market intelligence support to help businesses exploit overseas opportunities.

Lord Offord said: "Growing the agri, food and drink sector is key to growing our economy, and I am delighted to launch the Dairy Export Programme which will help businesses grasp exciting new opportunities around the world. Last year our dairy exporters sold £2bn of products to markets worldwide, and the work we are doing to strike up new trade deals will only see that figure rise further and move us forward in the race to £1trn of exports by 2030.

The NFU described the news as a "significant boost for the sector". Its Dairy Board chair Michael Oakes said: "The NFU has been working closely with dairy producers, exporters and government through the Dairy Export Taskforce to examine ways to reduce trade barriers for dairy, improve market access and identify new opportunities for growth.

"This new £1m programme shows how industry and government collaboration can help drive UK dairy exports, target new markets and bolster our exporting strength. With the global demand for dairy set to rise significantly, the UK should be leading the way when it comes to the trade of safe, high-quality and sustainable UK dairy products."

Peter Dawson, policy and sustainability director at Dairy UK and chair of the Dairy Export Taskforce, said: "Exports by dairy processors make a major contribution to the UK economy and there is considerable potential for growth. We welcome the support package announced today and look forward to continuing to work closely with the Department for Business and Trade to maximise its benefit for dairy exporters and the dairy supply chain in general."

AHDB chief executive Tim Rycroft added: "International trade remains critical to the sector. Export development is at the heart of what AHDB does, showcasing our high-quality produce at international trade shows and hosting inward missions for key international buyers.

"We welcome today’s announcement of additional government support for the dairy sector and will continue to work collaboratively with government and industry to deliver impactful activities and help maximise global opportunities for our levy payers. It will support our ambition to help increase market access and international sales by championing the reputation of UK products overseas, as well as encouraging more businesses to export."