By Awel Medi Morris, Assistant Communications Manager at NFU Cymru
This time of year is particularly poignant for farmers since it’s harvest time but we are cognisant of the fact that farmers need to look beyond the farm gate and that the Welsh food sector is not just a growing opportunity, forgive the pun, for primary producers but for the Welsh economy as a whole.
Welsh food and farming are a cornerstone of the Welsh economy – delivering £5.8billion and the Welsh Government has set itself, and the agricultural industry, a target to see a growth in the food and farming sector of 30% in terms of turnover to £6.7billion and a 10% growth in Gross Value Added to £1.4billion, by 2020. Whilst it is encouraging to see this recognition given to the food and drink industry the agriculture sector currently finds itself in a state of deepening crisis, with lamb producers and dairy farmers in particular facing severe price pressures.
Welsh farmers work hard to deliver high quality, tasty, fresh and affordable food to World-leading standards, they are also ready and willing to meet the challenge of feeding our growing population. But to help them through these tough times they are calling for the continued support of the consumers to secure a positive future for the farming industry and to help harness the support of the public NFU Cymru recently launched a new campaign #BackWelshFarming.
The campaign started off with NFU Cymru taking a ‘taste’ of the countryside to Wales’ capital city in August, handing out Welsh produce to showcase the quality and versatility of Welsh produce first hand to consumers and to help explain to shoppers why it’s more important than ever to #backWelshfarming.
The unit has since travelled the length and breadth of Wales with farmers on hand to explain to the public why the farming industry is currently struggling and how they can help.
As shoppers and consumers, we can all make an effort to choose quality Welsh and indeed British food by buying directly from farms and farmshops, by choosing foods that are in season, by carefully reading labels for product origin and looking out for the Welsh Dragon on products and/or the Red Tractor logo. When out shopping consumers should also look out for the three ‘Ls’
- Logos – indicating quality standards and origin of ingredients
- Labels – indicate where products are from and how they are made
- Location – point of sale locations like shops or supermarkets should be placing Welsh products in high-visibility areas.
We’re keen to harness Welsh consumers’ powerful voice so we can use it when it comes to getting retailers, restaurants and government in Wales to back the Welsh farming industry.
Wales is home to a very diverse range of high quality produce, that we, as farmers and food producers, are rightly proud of. There is tremendous potential to grow the market for what we produce in Wales, both within the UK and further afield, by playing to our strengths, our expertise and knowledge and our climate.