Export discussions dominate opening day of Royal Welsh Show for HCC

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) kicked off this year’s Royal Welsh Show with a day focused on red meat exports.

With discussion on the showground focused on the consequences of Brexit for agriculture and for access to overseas markets, HCC welcomed several government officials, retailers and food journalists to its stand – from countries both inside and outside the EU.

Among the visitors were retail executives from Switzerland discussing opportunities to import PGI Welsh Lamb, prominent Italian food writers, and journalists from France and the USA.

HCC chairman Dai Davies and chief executive Gwyn Howells also met, together with Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths, with a delegation from the United States Department of Agriculture, who were visiting the Royal Welsh Show as part of ongoing discussions regarding the reopening of the American market for Welsh Lamb.

Gwyn Howells, chief executive of HCC, said, “Given the result of the referendum, it was only right that we focused on exports on the first day of the Show. We very much enjoyed hosting visitors from established export countries, emerging markets such as Switzerland, and continuing our work to open access for Welsh red meat to important new countries. Our long-term work with the USA continues, with the aim of gaining market access within the next two years.”

For many of the Italian journalists, this was their first visit to Wales, and their visit to Llanelwedd was combined with trips to farms and food processors. However for Ennio Bonilauri it was a welcome opportunity to return to the Royal Welsh Show. “It’s fantastic how the whole food sector comes to the same place; we have nothing like it in Italy,” said the editorial director of ‘Foodmeat’ magazine. “I love coming to Wales, to see the unique characteristics of the country, and the strong pride and identity that people feel in their agriculture and food sector.”