Food for Wales, Food from Wales 2010-2020
On 14th September I attended one of four meetings being held across Wales as part of the consultation on a Food Strategy plan for the next decade. As this meeting was held in Pembrokeshire, I was disappointed that there weren’t that many producers there about 7 from 24 people including WAG. I always striving to get the Welsh Assembly Government, in all its departments and divisions, to communicate better with us, so I was very disappointed that there weren’t more ‘grass roots’ people there. I wanted to see a better turnout from producers especially as Pembrokeshire is such a strong food county, but maybe they have attended the other meetings. However the consultation period ends on 28th September, so if you want your views to be considered – then do something about it, please!!!!
The evening was well-chaired by Katie Palmer – (biog below for those who do not know Katie) and the WAG presentation was delivered by Wynfford James – Head of Food, Fisheries & Marketing Development Division. I thought that Joey Hughes, Head of Food Policy & Strategy Unit might have presented to us, but perhaps he was too busy………
There was much discussion about 4 goals: sustainability, resilience, competiveness and profitability and murmurings that profitability should surely have more importance, otherwise how were producers going to stay in business?
However, WAG are making the right noises about consultation and giving all of us ample opportunity to have our say, pity their documentation is not the easiest to read – but don’t give up! Trying to understand the interconnectivity between all the quangos, groups and other governmental departments, not forgetting those at the coal-face producing, manufacturing and selling the food that we all need is nigh on impossible.
WAG also promise that before they put in directions that there will be further consultation, but with Assembly Elections coming up next May, these consultations may have a political slant. Also as good as many of these ideas are, it is the delivering of the scheme when the real test will come.
In the meantime, I do urge you all to go to the consultation website and submit your views, we cannot complain after the event if we, the food industry, stays silent now. I’m concerned that many will find the form daunting, and if this is how you feel, please jusr send them an email with your views. I’m assured that emails will still be accepted. Tell WAG how you are finding things in your sector now and what you want to happen in the next ten years. Maybe like me you wonder how WAG Food can actually plan for 10 years, so say that too. Is distribution a worry for you, are farmer markets and festivals your main outlets, are you happy how these are working? Or are you worried because trade is down? I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions too..
How to respond
Please submit your comments by 28 September 2010, in any of the following ways:
Respond using the online form
Food Policy & Strategy Unit
Welsh Assembly Government
Rhodfa Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr
Katie Palmer was Lead Food Project officer for adventa at Monmouthshire County Council, Katie was responsible for leading community and business food projects. Working with partners she developed pilots and secured funding for a ‘whole school’ approach to school meals in Monmouthshire. She was also instrumental in developing the local food chain, encouraging local businesses and communities to network and source local produce.
During her five years in the international dairy industry, Katie worked with a number of major food businesses to develop new products and bring them to market. Her business development role at Volac International required both technical science and marketing skills to develop the market for whey protein in Europe and America. She developed a strong understanding of food legislation in this role, particularly when the foot and mouth crisis hit the UK and food regulations tightened significantly.
As the Chair of the Welsh Assembly’s Food and Drink Advisory Group, Katie has a good overview of the Food Industry in Wales. She also has a first class degree in Biology, a Masters of Science in Nutrition and is a member of the Nutrition Society.