Alun Davies, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes
On Thursday July 12 I convened a Welsh Food Conference at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne. I am very grateful to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for agreeing to attend the conference and for giving the opening address. His Royal Highness has been a consistent and strong supporter of food producers in Wales and his vision for a sustainable and successful food sector is one that is both compelling and persuasive.
The Welsh Government is committed to doing all we can to deliver a thriving and sustainable food sector that is able to support and sustain employment and prosperity across the whole of Wales. I am confident that there is a long term viable future for our food and drink industry but aware that there are challenges as well as opportunities.
The purpose of last week’s conference was to bring together people from across the different parts of the food supply chain to discuss how the Welsh Government can strengthen its work to support food production in Wales. I am anxious to listen to key people in the industry and ensure that their views shape the future development of the Welsh Government’s approach.
There are opportunities for change now – arising from the latest round of CAP reform and the need for a new Rural Development Plan beyond 2013. The Food and Farming Sector Panel is providing the Government with advice on taking forward economic development policy and I will focus during the summer on how I expect the Government to deliver its food strategy. I will be making a further written statement in the autumn which captures the views of the conference and delivers this vision for Wales.