In July 2019, I published, in partnership with the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board a consultation into proposals regarding the future direction and development of the food and drink industry in Wales. Our proposals were informed by extensive prior engagement with businesses and stakeholders and identified a vision to create a strong and vibrant Welsh food and drink sector with a global reputation for excellence, having one of the most environmentally and socially responsible supply chains in the world. The proposals had the strategic aims to grow our businesses’ scale, value, and productivity, to benefit our people and society, and to create and communicate a global reputation for Wales as a ‘Food Nation’. The proposals were firmly rooted in Prosperity for All, the Well-Being of Future Generations Act (2015), and food being part of the foundational economy.
The Board and I are pleased with the interest in our proposals and we thank everyone who took the time to respond. Responses were received from nearly 90 organisations and individuals, comprising a broad range of consultees with the majority from businesses and trade organisations. There was strong support for the proposals and the vision and mission we had proposed. I am pleased to publish a report summarising the responses received, which is available on the Food and Drink Wales website.
The Board and I are now considering how to use this constructive feedback as we develop the strategic plan proposals further. Having clarity of direction and united purpose and action are the ingredients of future success for the industry, and this is all the more important with Brexit coming up fast. We are mindful that this success is more than just economic success. We must face up to the challenges of better public health, improved sustainable use of resources in a more circular economy, fair work for our people, and creating a strong brand image of Wales as a ‘food nation.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.