9 October 2000
‘Dragon and red tractor can co-exist’

By Donald MacPhail

PLANS for a distinctive logo identifying Welsh produce need not undo nationwide work to simplify food labelling, insist farmers representatives.

A massive 86% of the Welsh public indicated in a survey by NFU Cymru that there should be a universal brand for their countrys produce.

Encouraged by this, NFU Cymru president Hugh Richards said Wales should introduce its own logo – possibly featuring a Welsh dragon.

But Mr Richards dismissed suggestions that this could undermine the British Farm Standard mark introduced this year.

This is intended to replace numerous confusing assurance scheme labels with a single strong assurance of quality.

The distinctive little red tractor mark, denoting hygiene, welfare and environment standards, is the subject of a nationwide advertising campaign this month.

Mr Richards said: “The NFUs British Farm Standard has given a strong identity to high-quality British food and is now stocked in all major retailers.

“But Wales is a country in its own right with its own identity. It enjoys a clean, green image that should be capitalised on.”

He insisted that a Welsh logo alongside the little red tractor would add to its message without confusing consumers.

In NFU London headquarters, public relations manager Simon Rayner was relaxed about the prospect of the red tractor sitting alongside a dragon.

He said: “The tractor is seen as a kitemark alongside which another marks with different attributes such as locality and seasonality can appear.

“Its not competition as its giving a different message to people who want other things.”

However, Mr Rayner admitted that if a rash of marks appeared then the union would have to reconsider its stance.

“People have started to look for the little red tractor and we must be careful of anything which could undo this good work,” he said.

The Welsh Development Agency is currently considering the development of a brand.

The NFU campaign to promote the little red tractor kicks off next Monday (16 October).

More than 350 billboard posters will appear across the country telling shoppers: “For food you can trust follow the little red tractor.”