Welsh MPs urge government to buy home-grown beef
WELSH MPs have called for greater government support for the beef industry, claiming too many local authorities, health trusts and armed services are still sourcing beef from South America and New Zealand.
Speaking in a debate on food purchasing in Wales, Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid Cymru, Ynys Mon) supported a Farmers Union of Wales call for government to positively discriminate in favour of fresh, home-produced beef.
Mr Wyn Jones said farmers, hit by a further cut in over-30-month-scheme payments, were frustrated at the lack of support and felt that a cut in the compensation price would in turn affect market prices.
Richard Livsey (Lib Dem, Brecon and Radnor) said itwas time government securedthe financial future for Waless chief food promoter -Welsh Food Promotions Ltd.
"I call on ministers to end the uncertainty and place WFPL on a secure footing for the long-term to provide the stability and resources it needs to continue the process of restoring confidence in Welsh beef and promoting all the other high-quality Welsh farm produce."
Win Griffiths, Welsh Office junior minister, said consumer confidence in British beef was returning, with sales just 3% below pre-crisis levels. Last month, sales of beef in Wales were 42% higher than in the same period in 1996 – the highest percentage in the UK.
Mr Griffiths added that many trusts and local authorities were reviewing their guidelines on beef procurement. He also called on the EU farm council to adopt commission guidelines on removing bovine risk materials.