New Welsh food and drink consultation goes live

Plans to strengthen the Welsh food and drink sector and promote its growth over the next decade have been unveiled at the Royal Welsh Show.

The Welsh government’s new plan for 2020-26 builds on the current Towards Sustainable Growth programme, under which the sector is ahead of schedule to meet its ambitious target of £7bn turnover.

Launching the consultation at the Royal Welsh Show on Tuesday (23 July), Welsh rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths said she was seeking to gather the views of people across the supply chain.

See also: So you want to… sell food and drink to the public?

Since the Welsh government launched its first food and drinks action plan in 2014, the sector has grown from an annual turnover of £3.8bn in 2013 to £4.8bn.

Over this same period, turnover in the Welsh food and farming industry has risen from £5.7bn to £6.8bn. Exports have jumped from £399m to £539m.

David Lloyd-Thomas and Andy Richardson with booklet

Dr David Lloyd-Thomas (left), head of the food policy and strategy unit, Welsh government, and Andy Richardson, chair of the Welsh Food & Drink Board, with the new consultation paper

Wales’ food and drink supply chain employs 217,000 people, including 55,000 directly in agriculture.

“Our vision is to create a strong and vibrant Welsh food and drinks sector, with a global reputation for excellence, having one of the most environmentally and socially responsible supply chains in the world,” Mrs Griffiths said.

To achieve this, the consultation has identified three specific aims:

  1. To grow businesses’ scale, value and productivity through targeted investment, support, innovation and co-operative activity throughout the supply chains.
  2. To benefit people and society by providing attractive careers and fair work.
  3. To create and communicate a global reputation for Wales as a food nation by showcasing the sector through Taste Wales, developing and living sustainable brand values.

The consultation can be found on the Welsh government website.

Q&A: Getting involved

Andy Richardson, chairman of the Welsh government’s Food and Drink Board, explains how and why you should have your say on the consultation.

What is the aim of the consultation?
It’s the next stage of our growth trajectory, which will take us beyond 2020. We have demonstrated we have the potential to grow. We have gone from £5bn to £7bn. We believe there is massive potential to develop further based on a backdrop of healthy food produced with good provenance and added value.

What are the components?
The first objective is very commercial and involves developing our businesses. It’s about growth and leadership and presence on the world stage. Secondly, it’s about promoting Brand Wales, being clear about its values and how we can add value. Third, it’s about how it benefits our society and environment – developing skills and lifelong learning.

Who can respond?
Basically, anybody involved in Wales’ food supply chain. If you like it, please tell us which bits you like most. If there are bits that need improving, or you feel we may have missed, let us know. More importantly, tell us what you would do to make it in line with our ambition.

Is there anything specific farmers should know?
Yes. We are trying to link this consultation to the Welsh government’s Farming and Our Land consultation. Ultimately, we want these two consultations to align. We want farmers to think hard about how these two consultations support each other.

How can farmers respond and what it the deadline?
Please complete the consultation response form (available at gov.wales) and send it to: foodanddrinkconsultation@gov.wales

The closing date for the consultation is midnight 15 October 2019.

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