2 November 2001

Organic products take direct route

A NEW Welsh co-operative is direct marketing organic beef and lamb in a bid to boost ex-farm prices.

The 18 producer members have committed around 6000 lambs and up to 250 cattle/year to Cambrian Organics. Animals are slaughtered at Tregaron Abattoir. Carcasses are then butchered and vacuum packed by the Welsh Food Centre at Horeb in Cardiganshire, which is partly funded by the National Assembly.

The co-ops web-site and order line are also based at the centre, and manned 12 hours/day by one of the farmers involved. Each pack carries a code that a customer can use to link to an internet page carrying information about the farm where the meat was produced.

"We are providing the ultimate in traceability, which is what many customers for organic products require," says Lizzie Shaw, the groups secretary. "But the key objective of this first exclusively organic meat co-operative in Wales is to give members a bigger share of the end price."

Members, who must invest a minimum of £300, sell their primestock to the group at prices based on those being offered by other organic livestock processors. Profits left after deduction of administrative, processing, packaging and delivery costs will be paid out as bonuses.

Established using grants from the Welsh Agri-food Partnership, the co-op has applied for further aid to create a range of new products at the Food Centre. &#42

Group secretary Lizzie Shaw, director Mike Shaw (left) and producer Wynne Davies hope to see a good return from Cambrian Organics produce.