Report claims demand must dictate Welsh Beef supply

Co-operation across the supply chain and better knowledge of consumer demand would help secure a positive future for Welsh Beef, a report into the industry has found. 

The independent report into the Welsh Beef industry was commissioned by Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) – Meat Promotion Wales earlier this year when a fall in market prices led to very low profit margins.

The report, produced by SAC Consulting, found that better supply chain cooperation and understanding of consumer needs can better organise the beef industry. The report concluded demand for beef products must dictate supply.

Wales’ Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans said the government would encourage the provision of beef: “There is a great deal that we should be proud about in respect of the operation of the beef sector in Wales. In 2013, nearly £70 million-worth of Welsh Beef was exported across the globe, and I am keen to work with HCC to develop further market interest from around the world to ensure this figure increases.

“Earlier this month I announced HCC had been successful in its application to the European Commission for a three-year funding programme worth more than £3m, to promote Welsh Lamb and Beef in countries across Europe.

“I also want to see Welsh Beef doing increasingly well in our domestic market. I will continue to work with partners in government and with businesses across the supply chain to encourage greater provision of Welsh Beef in our shops and on our tables.”

Moving forward, the government reported it would adopt an approach that is a hybrid of allowing free market to take its course and full regulation. “At the heart of the industry would be a productive national suckler herd,” stated the report. “Producing beef cost-effectively, with high eating quality and a great back story, means that PGI Welsh Beef has more impact in markets beyond Wales.”

HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells said: “I welcome the conclusions of this independent report, which provides the industry with a valuable guide to what actions are needed to support a long-term and viable future for the beef sector in Wales.

“HCC is keen to play its part in helping to coordinate and shape the future direction of the Welsh Beef sector, in partnership with the Welsh government and in full consultation and with the cooperation of farmers, auctioneers, processors and retailers.”

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