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Give farmers more help to add value to food, says FUW


There is insufficient consideration of how the Welsh Assembly Government’s new 10-year food strategy aims to engage farmers and other primary producers to consider moving into added value enterprises, says the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

Responding to today’s publication of “Food for Wales, Food from Wales 2010-2020” FUW deputy director of policy Rhian Nowell-Phillips said the union recognised the important role the Assembly’s Food Centres play in helping micro-businesses develop and innovate.

“But we are concerned that more emphasis should be given to encouraging primary producers to consider added value as a means of shortening the supply chain, increasing profitability and improving the sustainability of their businesses into the future.

“There is also a need to make sure the relevant training capacity and mentoring is available for small scale producers and that targeted sales and marketing advice is made available to help these micro businesses.

“Processing facilities can be a major barrier to the adoption of added value opportunities by primary producers, and the lack of smaller abattoirs, or difficulties in accessing larger slaughtering facilities for one or two animals, is a genuine problem in many areas of Wales and does reduce the opportunities for developing this sector.

“The union believes that the strategy needs to reflect the importance of encouraging primary producers into the wider supply chain and the need for recognition to be given to the investment required to adopt new capacity.

“Whilst acknowledging the need for the strategy to adopt sustainability in its wider sense, it is important to ensure that this is translated into clear, uncomplicated messages, which do not result in increased red tape and unwieldy policy instruments.

“The FUW represents primary producers who are generally small businesses and already subject to a great deal of regulation, bureaucracy and red tape.”

Ms Nowell-Phillips accepted that many of the aspirations within the strategy were fully in line with the unions aims of a profitable, sustainable agricultural sector within a thriving rural economy.

“Retaining primary producers and a critical mass of quality farm products is paramount to delivering the aspirations of this strategy. Sustainability, efficiency, and market development are also important for the success of the strategy, as is encouraging entrepreneurship amongst primary producers to add value.

“From the unions perspective, delivering the vision for food in Wales is reliant on a profitable primary production sector. The FUW believes that it is vital to ensure that farming is fairly represented in the strategy and that value should be added as close to the source of production as possible.

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