Exports crucial to Welsh agriculture’s future, says new HCC chair

In his first speech to the industry as chairman of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), Kevin Roberts will today hail the success of the Welsh red meat industry in winning new business, but will warn that unfettered access to markets is crucial for the industry’s future.

Mr. Roberts, addressing the Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths AM and industry leaders at the Royal Welsh Show-opening HCC Breakfast, will refer to new overseas business recently won by Welsh processors working with HCC – supplying PGI Welsh Lamb to an additional 300 supermarkets in Spain, a retailer promotion in Canada, and an expanded supply of premium Welsh meat to a major catering supplier in Switzerland.

Kevin Roberts will say that “HCC, working with our partners in farming and processing in Wales, has had notable success in developing business in existing and emerging markets across the globe.

“Late last year, a major Canadian supermarket chain undertook successful promotions for a new line of PGI Welsh Lamb. This year, one of Switzerland’s leading foodservice companies is expanding its premium range of Welsh red meat. And an extra three hundred supermarkets in Spain will shortly be stocking PGI Welsh Lamb.

“At home, it’s good to see a number of UK retailers making commitments to sourcing more home-produced meat. Many – including companies serving all sectors from the discount to the high-end – have made commitments to Welsh lamb and beef in the past twelve months.

“But here is the uncomfortable truth. No amount of home market work can make up for a sudden loss of European exports if that’s what happens in two years’ time.

“A third of Welsh Lamb goes to our existing mature markets in the EU, and we know there’s demand in other markets which are currently closed to us. We have an outstanding product, and stand ready to work with our partners in Governments to secure unfettered access to markets in Europe and further afield.”