Promotion of Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef at risk

The marketing of Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef is at risk unless the system that funds the organisation is revamped, according to chairman of Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC).

Speaking at a lunch organised by the Farmers’ Union of Wales at the Houses of Parliament, chairman Dai Davies said: “While the current system of funding isn’t completely broken, cracks are appearing which will have serious repercussions for levy-paying farmers and processors in Wales and also in Scotland unless it is amended swiftly to make it fit for the future.”

The potential closure of the Welsh Country Foods (WCF) Anglesey plant has encouraged a closer look at the faults of the system.

“I believe there is a need to introduce a more equitable system for levy distribution in the UK which accurately reflects the industry in each individual country,” he added.

HCC is currently losing £1m per year due to Welsh cattle and sheep being slaughtered in England.

“Our present system of funding, where levies from both farmers and processors are collected at abattoirs, means that if a plant unfortunately closes and everything is transferred to another part of the UK the levy money goes with it,” said Davies.

This meant that last year, with the closing of the Broxburn pork facility in Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland lost around half a million pounds in levy money with production moving to a plant in England.

HCC, QMS, Eblex and Bpex are funded by a levy collected from farmers and processors at the point of slaughter,

“There are, however, potential obstacles to the work that we do to promote Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef. Top of the list is the threat that hangs over the future of the abattoir at Gaerwen on Anglesey which may close with the direct loss of 350 jobs,” said Davies. “I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that. I do hope that the situation can be resolved to save the plant.”

According to Davies, HCC will suggest redistribution of levy based on where the livestock is born and reared rather than here the abattoir is located. HCC, QMS and AHDB are currently discussing the issue, which has not been reviewed since it was set up more than a decade ago.


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