Farmers backed in Welsh food action plan

The Welsh assembly has launched a plan to encourage consumers and public bodies to buy more locally-produced food and drink.

Rural affairs minister Elin Jones said the initiative demonstrated the Assembly Government’s commitment to making it easier for consumers to source Welsh products.

It would aim to support the development of farmers’ markets and the production and processing sectors, and encourage producers to diversify to meet local demand.

Other targets were the creation of community food projects and Food Hubs, encouraging all sectors to source more local products.

“There are so many benefits of buying local,” Ms Jones said.

“Not only do we have a range of high-quality local produce, but consumers can also trace where their food comes from and seek reassurance on production methods and animal welfare.

“Buying local also reduces food miles and helps us reduce carbon emissions in line with our commitments on climate change.”

The plan complemented the assembly’s work to improve the quality and nutritional value of food served in Welsh hospitals and schools.

The launch took place at an event marking the start of an all-Wales catering contract for assembly offices, at which contracted suppliers were able to showcase their produce.

No new money will be available to underwrite the action plan, but the launch was welcomed by the Farmers Union of Wales.

Lorraine Howells, a member of the union’s finance and organisation committee and one of a group of farmers that operates a High Street butcher’s shop, said it was a boost to the FUW’s own Buy the Welsh One campaign.

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