Welsh meat industry voices Brexit fears

Welsh meat industry voices Brexit fears

NFU Cymru, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) and Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) have all voiced shared concerns over Brexit’s potential impact on the red meat sector in Wales.

HCC chair Kevin Roberts.

In a joint letter to Welsh Assembly Members, NFU Cymru and BMPA have outlined the importance of the Welsh food sector to its economy, and state that Brexit ‘is the single biggest challenge facing the red meat sector within Wales’.

As part of the letter to Welsh AMs, the two organisations drew together a shared set of agreed policy principles that will be essential to safeguarding the red meat sector in Wales.

A few points included:

• EU Trade – It is essential that the UK maintains a free and frictionless trading relationship with the EU with no tariffs or non-tariff barriers.

• Non EU Trade – There are opportunities for the red meat sector beyond the EU, most notably a growing demand for protein from Asia, however any future trade deals do need to be handled carefully. This must take into account the implication on domestic food production.

The letter, which was sent to coincide with the start of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Llanelwedd, states: “NFU Cymru and BMPA are extremely proud of our ability to provide safe, quality, fully traceable and affordable food to consumers, both domestically and abroad, and we have a shared ambition for growing the sector within Wales and building on our world renowned reputation for producing red meat products of the highest quality.

“The industry is presently facing huge uncertainty, and as such we would urge Government to pause and carry out a thorough impact assessment on the long term impact of the withdrawal.

“The red meat industry, whether it be primary producers or the processing sector, is hugely proud of its contribution to Wales and we are ambitious for the future.”

At the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, HCC chairman Kevin Roberts also warned a hard or chaotic Brexit was the Welsh red meat industry’s “biggest threat”.

“As we come to the end game, the biggest threat to our industry’s future is a hard or chaotic exit in March,” Roberts told guests at the HCC industry breakfast.

“Welsh Lamb, specifically, was mentioned in the EU’s comments on the withdrawal agreement as a brand that would be protected by the deal on mutual recognition of Protected Food Names.

“I’d like to think that this – Welsh Lamb being cited above all the other 85 UK brands – shows that we’ve been making our voice heard.

“We’ll encourage innovation in our industry and we’ll keep telling the consumers the real truths about red meat, and about the production processes for our premium, world-class Welsh Lamb and Welsh beef products.”

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