BRANDING AND the exploitation of Protected Geographic Identification (PGI) status is the key to recovery for red meat exports from Wales.

That was the main message for the 250 farmers and industry representatives attending the autumn conference of Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) at Aberystwyth.

But they were also warned branding could not work unless it was based on cost-effective production of consistently high-quality lamb and beef.

“We must focus on the development and promotion of strong differentiated red meat brands, and get more involved in the supply chain,” said Gwyn Howells, HCC’s chief executive.

 Prys Morgan, the co-op’s industry development manager, emphasised that value-added markets must be found for meat produced by the 5m breeding ewes and 230,000 suckler cows in Wales.

 A multi-pronged approach was needed, he said. Livestock farmers must acknowledge the challenges of a decoupled market-place and use all sources of market intelligence to respond by producing what consumers were prepared to buy at premium prices.