Red meat vital to Welsh food industry growth, says minister

The red meat sector has a vital role to play in helping the Welsh Government grow the food and drink industry by a further 30% in five years, deputy minister for farming and food Rebecca Evans has said.

The minister was speaking to delegates at the HCC – Meat Promotion Wales annual conference last week.

“The food and drink industry is estimated to be worth £5.2 billion to the Welsh economy every year and we need to continue to build on this,” Evans said.
 
“By 2020, I want to see the food and drink industry grow by a further 30% and the red meat sector has a vital place to play in this aspiration.”

The deputy minister applauded HCC for the latest PGI Welsh Lamb marketing campaign and said she was pleased that talks were progressing amongst levy bodies to reform the red meat levy.
 
She also called for the support of retailers and processors. “I welcome the recent announcements by some of our major supermarket chains that they will extend their UK lamb sourcing policy for 2016,” she said.
 
“Although this is a positive step, more could still be done. I want to ensure that the Welsh consumer can choose Welsh produce all year round. It is up to the supermarkets to ensure that this happens.”

Evans also revealed she was commissioning an independent review of HCC to commence in the New Year.  

“This is about good governance, it is not criticism of HCC,” she said. 

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