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Welsh Government stresses commitment to food industry

Welsh Government stresses commitment to food industry

The Welsh Government has reaffirmed its commitment to boosting the country's food industry.

According to a spokeswoman, the administration is fully aware of how important the sector is both to the economy and to communities throughout Wales.

This, she said, is why the Welsh Government is "working hard to ensure the success of Welsh food businesses".

The spokeswoman insisted that "significant progress" is being made in this area, with food and drink sales going up by six per cent during 2013, WalesOnline reports.

In addition, she pointed out that agriculture, fishing and food manufacturing generated a combined turnover of more than £5.2 billion last year.

The official went on to note that Alun Davies, the minister for natural resources and food in Wales, has laid out various proposals to boost the country's food and drinks industry in a new action plan. Furthermore, she said he has committed to boosting turnover by 30 per cent by 2020.

"A central part of this plan is building on what is already an efficient system of business support for our food and drinks industry that is based on specific producer needs and supporting their development and business growth," the spokeswoman commented.

The Welsh Government was responding to criticism from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) that it has not done enough to support the country's food industry.

Iestyn Davies, head of external affairs at FSB Wales, stated that the administration has failed to offer specific support or set up an enterprise initiative for the sector, which he said is a "glaring oversight".

Policymakers warned that if a stronger strategy to support business and grow the foundational economy is implemented, it might be "too little too late" for companies that are already struggling.

This comes shortly after data from the Food and Drink Federation revealed that UK exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks went up last year.

Overseas sales recovered in 2013, rising by five per cent year-on-year to £12.8 billion following static export levels in 2012, with the European Union's member states accounting for three-quarters of total sales to other countries.


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