Plans to build on the success of the Welsh food and drink sector and promote its growth into the next decade have today been jointly unveiled by the Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths, and Andy Richardson, Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, at the Royal Welsh Show.
The joint proposals, launched for consultation, aim to create a strong and vibrant sector, globally renowned for its excellence, with one of the most environmentally and socially responsible supply chains in the world. The consultation has been co-designed with the industry.
The new plan for 2020-26 builds on the current plan ‘Towards Sustainable Growth’, which has seen the sector come close to meeting its ambitious target of a £7 billion turnover early.
The consultation sets out how the Welsh Government and Food and Drink Wales Industry Board will work collaboratively with the sector to achieve 3 key aims:
- developing business - To grow the sector’s scale and value, and businesses’ productivity
- benefitting our people and society - That our support and investment will help businesses provide wider benefits through fair work, developing skills and using resources sustainably
- promoting Wales as a food nation – to showcase our sector, growing on the success of Blas Cymru to open up trade and new market opportunities, developing and living our high standards and celebrating success
At the heart of proposals is the idea that success in the food and drink sector means wider success and benefits for people, our communities, and our wider environment.
The proposals build on the identification of food being part of Wales’ foundational economy and our nation’s prosperity. The consultation proposes targets and indicator measures which will both challenge effort and provide a guide to progress.
The Welsh food and drink sector has seen considerable growth since the publication of ‘Towards Sustainable Growth’ in 2013, including:
- a £6.8 billion turnover, up from £5.7 billion in 2013
- 16 protected name products, up from 5 in 2013, and
- £539 million of exports, up from £399 million in 2013
The new consultation runs until 15 October 2019.
The minister said:
“Our food and drink sector is a Welsh success story. It is growing in scale and our profile is rising. There is a clear will and dynamism to build on the success of our current Action Plan and put the sector in the best position for the future.
“At the heart of our success has been a true partnership between the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, business, technical experts, and government. The Board has provided leadership and valued advice and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them and the industry on the next phase of work.
“We face uncertainty and challenges from Brexit but our food and drink sector starts from a good place. Brexit will be a big disruptor - overcoming challenges such as how to improve productivity, how to attract and invest in our workforce and how to make our networks and systems more resilient in an uncertain world will be key.
“Wales can develop as a food and drink manufacturing nation of renown in ways which benefit our people and society as a whole. The action plan I am launching today sets out how we will achieve this. It has been co-designed with the board, working closely with the industry. I urge everyone who, like me, want to see a strong and vibrant sector to get involved and share their views with us.”
Andy Richardson, Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry board, said:
“Our recent growth in the Welsh Food & Drink sector has been simply stunning but this success has not happened by chance. It has been the fruit of really effective collaboration between industry and the Welsh Government, smart thinking and a determination by all those involved to really make a difference.
“I have an ambition for Welsh Food & Drink to continue on our growth trajectory whilst ensuring that we care for our society and the environment. I would encourage everyone in the industry to provide constructive feedback to the draft plan to ensure our final plan is ambitious and highly effective whilst ensuring all stakeholders really believe in and commit to its delivery.”