A FAMILY farm has made the most of the coronavirus pandemic challenges by doubling its exports.

Wicks Manor, in Tolleshunt Major, had a surge in demand for its premium bacon and sausages during the lockdown from the Middle East and Asia.

With pubs and restaurants now open, Wicks Manor is also resuming supplying its pork products to eateries across the county.

The family-run farm had faced a sharp drop in sales due to pub and restaurants closing, which typically accounts for 45 per cent of its revenue.

Eager to find alternative routes, Wicks Manor sough support from the Department for International Trade, to help ramp its exports to supermarkets in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Owner Fergus Howie said: “Our exports would usually account for 20 per cent of sales, however, since April we have been able increase them to 40 per cent.

“The importance of diversifying our sales across different markets has been laid bare during this difficult time. We are now focused on maintaining export growth while preparing to return to supplying pubs and restaurants.

“We’re grateful to the Department for International Trade for the support they have provided in securing new routes to market, and I would certainly encourage other UK food producers to do the same.”

Wicks Manor’s pigs are either born and bred on the farm or sourced from other East Anglian rearers.

They are fed grains grown on site, and the pork is then prepared and packaged at the family butchery, allowing the company to maintain control over the production of its meats from start to finish.

The business started exporting in 2010 when it secured a contract with a supermarket in Dubai.

Since then it has expanded to ten new markets in Asia, Middle East and Europe where its products are especially popular with British expats missing a taste of home.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Even in these challenging times, businesses like Wicks Manor are showing that there is clear appetite for British produce around the world.

“Exporting will play a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery from the coronavirus and my department is committed to delivering greater export opportunities for UK businesses through new free trade agreements.

“Now, more than ever, we need UK businesses to follow in the footsteps of exporters like Wicks Manor and showcase their produce on the world stage.”