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Europe gives multi-million boost to Welsh red meat industry

Mar 21 2012

‘Further investment could pump another 23m into Welsh economy' - report

An investment of just over 1 million pounds has led to benefits worth more than 2.3 million in the Welsh red meat industry, Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales announced today.

And if further funds can be found to continue this work, the payback to the red meat sector and therefore the wider Welsh economy could be as high as 23 million, according to an independent report.

The figures were released by HCC who carried out a series of economic-based activities for the industry over the last three years using resources provided by the Rural Development Fund for Wales (RDP).

The independent assessment of the work carried out under this scheme is excellent news, said HCC Chief Executive Gwyn Howells. It shows that when public money is targeted effectively in areas where there is a proven need for investment, it results in an immediate benefit to the industry and represents excellent value for money for the taxpayer.

Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and European Programmes Alun Davies said: This independent report shows how the Rural Development Plan is successfully delivering for Wales and providing a vital boost to the Welsh economy.

RDP is a joint venture between the Welsh Government and the EU, and the purpose of it is to invest in, and maximise the potential of the countryside and rural areas. I'm delighted to see the results of this report show that RDP is reaping rewards through well targeted strategic funding.

The report into HCC's three year Economic, Market Intelligence and Benchmarking Project concluded that the direct return for RDP investment was 2.2 to 1.

Wider potential impacts could reach as high as 23 million, if further investment was injected into the project, according to report authors Brookdale Consulting Limited.

Across all aspects of the project our research showed high satisfaction ratings from beneficiaries, tangible business benefits and significant economic impacts, said the report.

Among the key conclusions of the report are:

  • The total investment of RDP funds over three years has led to direct Gross Value Added (GVA) net impacts of between 2.3 million and 2.36 million.
  • The wider potential impacts could generate a return for the Welsh economy of between 22.2 million and 23.6 million, although this would require further investment to achieve.

The project launched a series of initiatives designed to assist those who work in the red meat sector, particularly farmers, and encouraging them to share information and good practice. It also involved training courses, funding for animal disease testing and benchmarking so that farmers could measure their business with similarly sized enterprises.

According to the report, there are a number of areas where future investment could deliver further significant benefits to the industry and the wider economy.

For example, maintaining and expanding market price transparency through innovative methods such as using the web and text messages, where the RDP has already delivered additional benefits of over 500,000 per year, said the report.

Other areas identified by the report which would see further benefits through additional funding are:

  • Taking forward recommendations from the first-ever RDP funded Parasitology Action Plan would help cut the cost of parasites to the industry which currently stands at 22 million per annum.
  • Building on a lamb losses project which could be worth 4.5 million per annum in Wales.
  • Extending Johne's Disease testing, launched under the RDP project, to achieve disease-free status for Wales could be worth up to 1.6 million per year.

Mr Howells said: HCC is keen to build on the work we have started and we will examine all possible avenues to finance this work for the benefit of the industry and the wider Welsh economy.

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