By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent

PROMOTIONAL agencies and commercial firms have joined forces to push Welsh lamb sales.

The Welsh Assembly has allocated 600,000 to promote the full range of lamb weights on domestic markets.

Half was pledged some weeks ago to a multi-media campaign to persuade local authorities, prisons, hospitals and the MoD to buy lightweight carcasses that would normally be exported to southern Europe.

At the Carmarthenshire Festival of Agriculture, Wynfford James, chief executive of the Welsh Development Agencys food directorate, announced an extra injection of 300,000 to market lambs weighing between 10kg and 15kg.

Don Thomas, chief executive of Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions, said Safeway Stores and Iceland Food Group were to increase sales of branded, farm-assured lamb products.

Sainsbury is also increasing the volume of Welsh Mountain lamb in 80 of its stores.

Hugh Richards, president of NFU Cymru-Wales, welcomed all initiatives that might help, but was wary of the underlying motives of commercial companies offering support.

He said: “It is inevitable that sheep farmers are going to have a dreadful time, and many will have to accept the insulting 10 a lamb offered by the Welfare Scheme.

A change in the regulations also means that only 30% of lambs can go from each farm, and nobody has any idea where a home can be found for the rest.”

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