Speaking at Hybu Cig Cymru’s annual conference the Deputy Minister told the audience:
“We have world class producers and processors here in Wales and the industry makes a significant contribution to the Welsh economy. More than 33,000 people work in the red meat sector alone. Farmgate prices are worth more than half a billion pounds a year to the economy, representing 40% of agricultural output.
“The reputation of the Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef brands across the globe has steadily enhanced. A decade ago, Welsh Lamb could only be found in a few European markets. Today it is not only available across most of Europe, but also in the Middle and Far East. Farmers have worked hard to increase yields and produce leaner cuts of meat that suit different markets across the globe and Hybu Cig Cymru has worked hard to successfully identify new markets, nurture their development and expand. We have much to be proud of, and food and farming is at the core of that pride.”
The Deputy Minister also welcomed the appointment of the Food and Farming Priority Sector Panel by the Business Minister Edwina Hart and expressed the hope that the presence of HCC Chairman, Dai Davies on the panel would mean that HCC best practice could be passed on to other sectors of the agriculture industry. He added:
“I welcome the new advisory panel, chaired by Dr Haydn E Edwards, which will provide us with expert advice on the priorities for the food and drink supply chain and I am sure that HCC’s Chairman Dai Davies, as a member of the panel will help to ensure a broad range of expert knowledge is applied.
“I am determined to encourage other sectors of the Welsh food industry to follow the example set by HCC to improve their products and supply chains so that they can enjoy the same success. The Food and Farming sector is key to our economy and is a significant contributor to the health and well being of the country. Working together, I am sure we can look forward to a viable and successful future for the industry.”