Wales rural affairs minister Elin Jones has launched a strategic action plan for the Welsh red meat industry.

“We regard the sector as a major player in our determination to fight back against the recession and build a flourishing and diverse Welsh economy fit for the 21st Century,” Ms Jones said during the formal launch at the Welsh Assembly today (28 April).

With more than 33,000 people employed in the red meat supply chain, the sector contributes £361m a year to the Welsh economy, including annual exports valued at £108m.

“These are not insignificant figures,” Ms Jones said.

Rees Roberts, chairman of Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales), which drafted the 82-page strategic plan, claimed it was one of the most important and forward-looking documents ever produced for the red meat industry in Wales.

“Its vision is to have a profitable, efficient, sustainable and innovative red meat industry that responds competitively to ever-changing market trends and benefits the people of Wales.

“It addresses a huge number of issues, including marketing, research and development, future trends and climatic change.”

The objectives include improving the business performance of farmers and processors, fostering innovation in supply chain links, raising the industry’s level of understanding of market trends and influencing consumer behaviour.

Details of the action plan will be available from 29 April.