Industry leaders and politicians have launched a joint strategy for agriculture in Wales which includes proposals to increase output and create a brand for Welsh produce.
The group Amaeth Cymru, or Agriculture Wales, is an industry-led venture partnered by the Welsh Government [see below].
In its strategy document – The future of agriculture in Wales (PDF) – Amaeth Cymru committed to growing output from farms to help make the industry more resilient and profitable.
“The food and drink industry in Wales has tremendous potential for growth, providing greater economic activity and more jobs in the future,” the report says.
One of the keys to this is the creation of an internationally recognised brand for Welsh food.
“We have a bold ambition to drive the sector forward through the creation of a brand for Wales that champions and promotes high quality, sustainable food products at home and in overseas markets,” the report says.
The brand would be underpinned by progressive standards and rigorous quality inspection throughout the chain, the report explains.
‘Brand Wales’ proposals
- Develop “Brand Wales”
- Encourage market-driven product creation
- Improve data flow through the supply chain
- Target export markets
- Seize import substitution opportunities
- Constant monitoring of product opportunities worldwide
- Better benchmarking and more sharing of best practice
- Stimulate appropriate diversification
- Encourage training and professional development
- Provide education on how markets operate
- Encourage the use of renewable energy and resources
Other measures detailed include diversification, seizing import substitution opportunities and innovative product development.
It is important to encourage market-driven innovative product development tailored to meet the changing needs of consumers to create, sustain and protect demand, the report says.
And it highlighted better information gathering, improved benchmarking, training and education throughout the chain. This, it says, would help all parties understand the mechanics of the industry and so identify areas where costs could be cut and output increased.
“The overall aim is to encourage activities that make markets work better and ensure that the additional value stays at the farm gate, improving profitability and prosperity,” the report says.
But, amid the vision’s positivities, the group has issued a stark warning over Brexit.
It warned that the vision was founded on a successfully negotiated trading platform with overseas markets, post-Brexit.
“The document assumes that EU exit will provide opportunities for growth in export markets and allow the development of a support and regulatory regime that helps build a prosperous sector,” says the report.
“Should an EU exit result in loss of trade and reduced support for the sector in the short term then our ambition will be seriously curtailed.
“Indeed, the vision may never be realised if a hard exit results in loss of critical mass and environmental degradation in the short term.”
What is Amaeth Cymru?
Amaeth Cymru – Agriculture Wales was established on 25 September 2015 to provide strong, collective leadership and create a prosperous, resilient agriculture industry promoting Welsh food.
The group includes farming unions, levy bodies, government, academics and industry experts.