Action needed at UK and European level says Welsh Deputy Minister

Following Monday’s meeting of UK farming unions and ministers, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food in Wales, Rebecca Evans said, “The supply chain remains a critical element within both the milk and red meat sectors.

“All in the supply chain need to act in a responsible manner if the industry is to safely negotiate the current severe trading conditions. This is not a problem that Government can resolve alone, all in the supply chain have an important role to play.

“Retailers, processors and consumers should all consider what they can do to support Welsh farmers. We know consumers across the country want to support our farmers and we need to make it easier for that to happen in respect of issues such as purchasing, labelling and positioning of produce on shelves.

“I am pleased to have supported efforts to improve food labelling in Wales which will provide more information to consumers in a way that is not overly-burdensome on producers. This should give consumers clearer information on the source and provenance of their purchases, which will help them to buy Welsh produce, but I’m asking retailers to display and position local produce in a more prominent way so that purchasers can make better informed decisions when purchasing.”

“The appointment of the Grocery Code Adjudicator was a welcome step to improve this relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers but maybe now is the time to look at the role the Adjudicator going forward and whether this can be strengthened to help food producers get a fairer deal.”

The Deputy Minister raised again her concerns about the length of time it was taking to resolve issues around the fair distribution of the red meat levy.

She said: “I will work with all concerned including Defra, HCC and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to make sure that changes are made that ensure Welsh levy payers are not disadvantaged”.

The Deputy Minister confirmed she will be travelling to next month’s European Agri-summit on 7 September to press for action from the EU to solve what she described as a global problem that needed action at not only a Wales level but UK and European level as well.

She said: “It is important to keep in mind that market volatility is not something that is exclusive to the farming industry, if affects all industries and associated sectors but I am determined to do all within our power to help Welsh farmers through this challenging period.”

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