Alan Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
I would like to update members on my decision to invest an additional £1.2 million over the next three years in HCC to further develop exports of Welsh red meat.
Exports of Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef were worth £217 million in 2012 and HCC estimates that the total value of the Welsh red meat supply chain to the Welsh economy – including farmers, processors and retailers – is worth £1 billion a year.
Enhancement of HCC’s current export programme has the potential to increase Welsh red meat exports by a further £37.5 million over a three year period.
Increasing demand from overseas leads to improved prices for farmers and processors in Wales which they then reinvest in their local communities. Delivery of this programme will increase returns to the Welsh red meat industry which in turn contributes to improving the jobs, growth and wealth of Wales, in particular the rural economy.
Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef are currently in a strong position within the global market as both products have been awarded the status of PGI, which identifies their origin and unique qualities. PGI provides consumer assurances that only lambs and cattle, born and reared in Wales, which are fully traceable and have been slaughtered/ processed in HCC approved abattoirs/ processors, can be branded as Welsh.
HCC is in negotiations to open up new markets for Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef products in China, Russia and the United States and I am confident that this additional funding will help them achieve this.
Approximately a third of all Welsh Lamb is exported overseas, emphasising the importance of this market for the red meat sector.