Archive for April, 2013

Saputo Finds Possible Buyer For Cheese Factory

29 Apr

There’s a possibility that a cheese factory in Carmarthenshire which has been threatened with closure could be bought. Saputo is in talks with Dairy Partners of Wales to sell its site in Newcastle Emlyn.

The plant produces mozzarella cheese and was acquired by the Canadian business in 2007. Saputo proposed the closure of the Newcastle Emlyn site in February to concentrate efforts and resources in its current platforms and other markets.

If this goes ahead it is likely that the new company would employ around 20 workers initially with hopefully further expansion at a later date.



Horsemeat Update

25 Apr

Yesterday I received a press release from HCC, Hybu Cig Cymru which follows: A new poll has revealed that the horsemeat scandal has changed consumer shopping behaviour, with more than seven out of 10 consumers now stating that they care more about the origin of their meat. The meat origin survey was launched by PGI Welsh Lamb to find out whether the horsemeat scandal had impacted upon consumer opinion and purchasing habits.

The survey revealed that 71 per cent of consumers now actively seek out origin labels on meat compared to 48 per cent before news of the scandal broke, with one in five stating they were now less likely to buy meat from the supermarket. By comparison, 37 per cent said they were more likely to buy meat from a local butcher.

Philippa Gill, Brand Marketing Officer with red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru – the organisation behind PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef – said: “The one positive impact of the horsemeat scandal is that it has increased consumer awareness about where the meat they are buying is from. The survey shows that consumers are now significantly more likely to care about the origin of meat. This has converted into a shift in consumer behaviour with nearly three quarters of consumers now actively seeking out origin labels.”

The meat origin survey also revealed that 86 per cent of consumers would like greater assurance of where their meat is from and that it is of guaranteed quality. HCC is running a national campaign to raise awareness of PGI, which stands for Protected Geographical Indication, the EU food status which guarantees full traceability and authenticity of a product. In addition, HCC is appealing to consumers to “Look for the Logos” in a campaign run in butchers and other retailers to demonstrate how the PGI status offers this origin guarantee for Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef. Nearly six per cent of all food and drink purchased in the UK already holds either the PGI or PDO (Protected Designated Origin) status, slightly ahead of the European average.

In the PGI Welsh Lamb poll, nearly 80 per cent were reassured by this statistic and believed that more products should be labelled to highlight their origin.

Mrs Gill said: “Consumers can rely on the PGI label as a cast-iron guarantee of the origin of the product that bears its blue and yellow label. For example, PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef can be traced all the way back through the supply chain to the farm, which offers consumers the guarantee of origin that they are currently looking for.”

There are currently 30 products in the UK which have PGI status with at least another 20 going through the official application process. PGI products include Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef, the Cumberland Sausage and Newmarket Sausage, as well as Whitstable Oysters, Cornish Sardines and the Arbroath Smokie.

Well congratulations HCC you’ve now taken on board what we have been saying for some time which is that the Welsh public generally haven’t a clue what PGI status is and cannot recognise their logo. It was a pleasure to point you in the right direction. I will not bother to waste further energy asking what HCC mean by a ‘national campaign to raise awareness of PGI’ my readers are well aware of my views of these campaigns and what little value I attach to them.

Sadly Ian and I have no knowledge of this survey, and bearing in mind that we rate most survey’s as pointless and expensive, we are puzzled how this PR slipped through our net. Ian contacted HCC’s PR company Golley Slater and we were told it had been sent to us……………but at least they did re-send it. Again press releases follows:

Consumers quizzed over meat origin opinions PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef have launched a survey to canvas consumer opinion about meat origins. Consumers are being urged to complete the survey to give an insight about whether the horsemeat scandal has impacted their perceptions about meat. The survey asks consumers how much of an interest they took in the origin of meat and if they looked for food origin labels before the scandal compared to now. It goes on to ask if their consumption habits have changed to see if consumers are buying more meat from a local butcher compared to the supermarket.

Pip Gill, of Hybu Cig Cymru – the organisation behind PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef, said: “We’d like to invite as many consumers as possible to fill in our short poll which will give us an insight into meat purchasing behaviour and whether this is changing. Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef have been awarded the European PGI status which means that its origin is guaranteed. The stringent requirements mean that, legally, only lambs which have been born and reared in Wales to specified high standards and slaughtered in an approved abattoir can be labelled ‘Welsh Lamb’. The blue and yellow PGI label on every packet of Welsh Lamb acts as a stamp of authenticity so you can guarantee that the product you are buying is exactly as described and is fully traceable. We believe that if consumers are becoming more concerned about the origin of meat, this label provides peace of mind for them. We are activity campaigning to raise consumer awareness of the PGI label to help provide this quality assurance and origin guarantee.”

Apparently this was only a short online poll conducted to get a snapshot into consumer shopping behaviours following the horsemeat scandal. In total, 309 people completed the survey from all over the UK, which enabled this snapshot to be provided.

I cannot see that 309 people from all over the UK really makes any news worth shouting about. I would have thought that the way the horse meat story has been carried out so extensively in all media, that the majority of people have at last begun to think where their meat comes from. If HCC then helped independent butchers on promotion we might make more progress. More importantly though, if a poll is sent through to people and they have no interest in it, then they are very unlikely to complete it, which in my view makes the poll more than biased. Just think of the number of times when you’re on the web and the site asks you for a few minutes of our time to fill in their questionnaire, how many of us do it unless we are really interested or there is a good incentive to do so? Very few……………………????

Any way to see for yourself what was asked please visit:


Better Late Than Never – Wag’s Food Festival Funding For 2013

25 Apr

This should be a popular post, as I have today finally received the funding list from wag food. It would make me even angrier with wag food, if that were possible, if I could be bothered to count the number of emails, calls made and the time I’ve wasted trying to get this list. Oh to be on the same page as wag food and be working together, but sorry, I’m dreaming again………….!

I’m pleased that so many of you agree that we should have these details at the end of the year and not have to wait until April before even the organisers are told, but we shouldn’t hold our breath on that one. I feel so sorry for some of these organisers who now have to hold urgent committee meetings to see if they are actually able to go forward with their festivals, or if for various reasons such as lateness of funding offer, or maybe having a lower offer made, that they might now re-consider holding their festival. For those festivals running early in the year in particular, this has been nothing short of a stressful nightmare and a very unnecessary one. Plus on a personal level we’ve lost advertising from food festivals as they were awaiting wag’s decision.

In the past I’ve spent many years doing PR, public relations, albeit in the private sector. So I find it hard to envisage the scenario of the Minister finally rubber stamping this list, the news eventually going out to all the organisers on 9th April and the media being ignored until  25th April, despite my chasing again and again for it. If in my PR role I’d acted so slowly, inefficiently and unprofessionally, I simply wouldn’t have kept my job and neither would I have deserved to. In the private sector I was judged on performance and rightly so. Although I keep trying and failing by-and-large, to communicate with the pubic sector, and there can be no dispute that their views and attitudes are sadly totally different than in the real world that the rest of us have to work in.

I was also told by a good source, that the finalisation of the listing was delayed whilst a festival lobbied the Minister, seriously unhappy that  funding was this year being restricted to £10k. Sorry, but I can’t justify wasting more time trying to get that ‘story’ confirmed or denied, so I can only class it as a very interesting rumour, but I must confess it really did make me chuckle. Even without knowing the final outcome, I did wonder if the Minister, or his team then directed this festival to other sources of funding so that they don’t, in effect ‘lose out’. I have submitted an Freedom Of Information question through on this and will let you know the outcome. I’ve also asked for a full list of all festivals that did apply for funding and how much they asked for as this will give us a clearer picture of this budget.

New funding to help food and drink festivals to flourish

The Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies has announced over £210,000 to support food festivals and strengthen Wales’ reputation as a foodie nation. The funding, which will help showcase the best of Welsh food and drink to people living in and visiting Wales, will be allocated to 32 separate food festivals scheduled to take place across Wales in 2013 . The support is aimed at raising awareness of the high quality of food and drink on offer in Wales in order to build on Wales’ growing food culture.

Alun Davies said: “Good quality, distinctive food is a central part of our culture here in Wales. I am determined to build on that culture in order to enable our food and drinks industries to strengthen and thrive. We know that food festivals continue to be a big draw for people living in and visiting Wales and are an excellent way of showcasing the very best of Welsh produce. They also allow producers to strengthen their own business capacity which in turn contributes to a strengthened rural economy. I am therefore pleased to announce more than £210,000 to support 32 separate festivals across Wales . During 2013 the festivals will collectively receive £211,164.54 in assistance, to strengthen Wales’ reputation as a producer of high quality and diverse food and drink.

The food festivals receiving funding are:


Wrexham Food Festival 18 – 19 May 2013 £7,500.00

Llyn Land & Seafood Festival 25 – 26 May 2013 £5,440.00

Mold Food Festival 21 – 22 September 2013 £9,000.00

Anglesey Oyster & Welsh Produce Festival 12 – 13 October 2013 £1,593.40

Llangollen Food Festival 19 – 20 October 2013 £5,000.00

Gwledd Conwy Feast 26 – 27 October 2013 £10,000.00

Gwyl Fwyd a Chrefft Portmeirion 7 -8 December 2013 £5,850.00

South West

Gorseinon-Swansea Food Festival 27 April 2013 £7,825.00

Really Wild Festival 25-26 May 2013 £6,840.00

Gwyl Fwyd Castell Newydd Emlyn 15 June 2013 £2,955.50

Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival 22 – 30 June 2013 £10,000.00

Margam Market Day 07 July 2013 £5,458.50

Narberth Food Festival 27 – 29 September 2013 £8,286.00

Neath Food and Drink Festival 4 – 5 October 2013 £8,875.00

Mumbles Oyster Festival 17 – 20 October 2013 £4,350.00

West Wales Food Fayre Nov / Dec TBC £10,000.00

South East

Caerphilly Food Festival 04 May 2013 £7,431.50

Welsh Perry & Cider Festival 24 – 27 May 2013 £3,855.60

Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival 12 – 14 July 2013 £10,000.00

St Fagans Food Festival 7 – 8 September 2013 £7,000.00

Abergavenny Food Festival 21 – 22 September 2013 £10,000.00

Feastival 27 – 28 September 2013 £9,000.00

Newport Food Festival 05 October 2013 £7,590.00

Abergavenny Christmas Food & Drink Fair 08 December 2013 £8,500.00


Hay Summer Food Festival 29 June 2013 £1,775.00

Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival 07 July 2013 £9,000.00

Lampeter Food Festival 27 July 2013 £7,000.00

Cardigan River & Food Festival 10 – 11 August 2013 £10,000.00

Aberystwyth Food & Drink Festival 21 September 2013 £3,613.04

Newtown Food Festival 21 – 22 September 2013 £3,580.00

Brecon Beacons Food Festival 05 October 2013 £2,625.00

Hay Winter Food Festival 30 November 2013 £1,221.00

My team is checking out this list of dates and note that Newtown will run on 7th & 8th September not 21/22nd as wag state.

Just for interest last year 2012, food festivals were allocated £339,280 for 33 festivals. Despite the Minister saying how important Welsh food is to the economy, including tourism, this is a massive chop in this budget down to £210k.




Food Questions

17 Apr

The team and I were having a chat this morning during a brief respite from proof-reading our M/June issue, the discussion was about the the large number of food questions we’d received in the office, in just one week. The questions came from not only our Best Of Welsh & Borders food producers, but from festival organisers too. The calls all begin with ‘hope you don’t mind me picking your brains, but you’re sure to know the answer’. Well if they’re advertisers with us and supporting Welsh Country magazine, then of course we do bend over backwards and do our to solve their problem, but some of them aren’t with us, but getting  10 out of 10 for cheek. Then we have to remind them that we support and help those that are with us and if they are not  then this is wag food’s telephone number, refraining from asking why they didn’t pester them first. As we no longer know who is left in the food department or their roles, that’s all do, bearing in mind that it has still cost us time and money.

What did raise a smile, but then grumble, was why are we often the first point of contact for food queries when it should automatically be the food department shouldn’t it? For any of our advertisers, our team know they are there to help and if we haven’t got the answer, we’ll still try and find it, as it’s one of our free add-on services, even though it feels like we are running wag’s unofficial food information centre. I’m sure if I was wag food, I’d want to know why questions aren’t being directed at them, the supposed source of knowledge and information, but perhaps they don’t realise they are not always the first point of call. If they can’t grasp why not, they only need to read welshfoodbites and see how much effort I have to make to get answers from them, bearing in mind I’m a journalist, which means in the UK at any rate, that I get prompt answers and great service. But allow me to offer further help, again for free, for wag to get further help on this, I suggest they need an image change, along with a reminder that without food producers and festival organisers not many wag food people would have a job, whilst a further reminder is that these very people pay their salaries. More food for thought here?


Welsh Government Now Offers Some Monetary Support For Farmers

16 Apr

Latest news from NFU Cymru is shown below and will offer glimmers of hope to some:

News that £500,000 is to be made available to agricultural charities to help support those worst affected by the recent adverse weather is welcome recognition from Welsh Government of the severe difficulties facing Welsh farmers says NFU Cymru.

The Natural Resources and Food Minister, Alun Davies, has this afternoon announced that £100,000 will be offered to the Farm Crisis Network, £150,000 to RABI and £250,000 will be made available to the Addington Trust to help them provide short-term support to those families in Wales who are least able to meet these added recent costs due to the severe weather.

Ed Bailey, NFU Cymru President said, “A lot of farmers don’t yet know the full economic implications the adverse weather conditions have had on their business, but, we would encourage all Welsh farmers who are currently struggling, financially and emotionally to contact one of these charitable organisations for help. NFU Cymru offices throughout Wales will offer all the support they can to help members get in touch with these charities.”

NFU Cymru is pleased that the Minister is also seeking authorisation from the European Commission to bring forward 2013 Single Farm Payments for those affected to mid-October.

Ed Bailey said, “If the European Commission agrees then this would help cash flow for those affected. We would ask that the Minister gives consideration to extending this provision to the whole of Wales in the light of the exceptional circumstances of this past year which have affected all sectors of the farming industry in Wales.”

The Minister has also today extended the Derogation, to allow the on-farm burial of fallen stock, to 23 April. NFU Cymru is relieved he’s recognised the derogation needed extending once again and the Union will await further details on which areas of Wales the derogation applies to. Ed Bailey said, “We hope the Minister will continue to be as flexible as possible in relation to the derogation and the area it covers.”

“We also note that the Minister has tasked the Chief Veterinary Officer Wales with looking into issues associated with delays in collecting fallen stock on farms in north Wales, this is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed.”


In conclusion Ed Bailey said, “The Minister has tasked his officials with looking at the potential damage the weather has caused to the industry and for HCC to consider the wider impact to the red meat industry. NFU Cymru will provide all the assistance it can in continuing to help members and to input into the various workstreams commissioned by the Minister. We have consistently said that it may be some time before we know the full impact of the severe weather on the industry in Wales, we hope that this work will inform Mr Davies on what further measures would be appropriate.”




Welsh Farming Continues To Struggle

15 Apr

We have a number of farmers supporting us on our Best Of Welsh & Borders listing and the tales we’ve heard fro them over the last few weeks as heavy snows hit in many parts of Wales has been very distressing. Farmers are a tough breed of people but to be told that some have even said they’d rather not carry on because all they seem to be doing is facing battles they can’t win. Year after year of late they faced endless rain and floods followed by snow.

I’ve heard a couple of interviews with Minister Alun Davies, can’t say I agreed with much of what he said, but thought his latest written speech, which follows in full, might be of some interest.

Written Statement – Addressing the impact of severe weather on the farming community Alun Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food

Further to my written statement of 2 April, I have met with farmers and their representatives to discuss the serious effects that the recent adverse weather has had on certain parts of Wales. I have also visited a number of farms affected to gain a better understanding of the immediate difficulties being faced, where specifically they apply, and what collectively we can do to address them.

I have also attended all of our recent CAP consultation events across Wales and have very much welcomed the opportunity of meeting with farmers face-to-face, to listen to their concerns and discuss suggestions of how the Government can provide further practical support at this time, as well as considering challenges and opportunities for the longer term.

I pay tribute to all those who have worked day and night to save animals in those areas worst affected, and also to open up rural communities that had been inaccessible because of the snow. I have heard a number of individual stories of the difficulties faced, and both of the efforts made and solidarity shown by families, farming neighbours, and local communities in helping overcome them.

From my discussions over the last fortnight, and from wider contacts with the industry, three sets of issues have emerged. The first relates to practical issues on the ground to enable farm businesses to operate in the areas affected; the second concerns how we – Government, other public and voluntary sector partners, and the industry – can support those worst affected through this period; and the third relates to the future – the longer-term impact of the weather, and how we can strengthen the resilience of the farm sector, and upland livestock producers in particular, to help meet future contingencies.

In relation to practical issues, following advice from my veterinary advisers and having forward weather reports from the Met Office, it is clear that the current derogation for on-farm burial is still necessary for the time being, although its geographical coverage must remain closely targeted on the areas worst affected. I have therefore extended the derogation until midnight on 16 April 2013, covering the same geographic area plus specific parts of north Ceredigion.

I understand from Local Authorities, within the areas identified, that the problem is not uniform in any one area, and I have therefore asked my officials to work closely with Local Authorities to fine tune the application of the severe weather derogation process to ensure the worst affected parishes are identified. Work to provide this additional focus will be progressed over the next week and will ensure any further application of the derogation remains proportionate and directly relevant. In the meantime I would encourage any affected farmers to contact their local authority to discuss the use of the derogation on a case-specific basis.

Those wishing to access the latest Welsh Government guidance and details of the derogation should go to the website. This guidance will continue to be updated as required, and we are liaising closely with other key partners, including local authorities, Natural Resources Wales and fallen stock collectors, regarding the information and support that they are providing.

My officials are continuously gathering evidence from the ground, and I am reviewing the situation on a daily basis. It is important that we understand the specific locational impacts of the snow, so that we can respond as necessary with focussed practical support for those farm holdings in most need. We are ready to work with the farming unions on welcome initiatives such as fodder banks and fodder distribution networks. I am monitoring the position on lorry drivers’ hours, and will seek further derogations if these are needed to keep supplies of feed and other farm inputs moving. I am not aware of any areas within Wales that remain wholly cut off by the snow, but my officials are in touch with colleagues in the Armed Forces should we find that heavy logistical support is needed in particular places.

In terms of direct support, I have asked Farming Connect to prioritise applications from producers in the affected areas for one-to-one support via the Whole Farm Plan. I encourage those farmers interested in the service to contact the Farming Connect service centre directly. Further information and guidance for farmers can be found on both the Welsh Government and Farming Connect websites. There is also the Farming Connect Service Centre, (Contact 08456 000 813) and I urge farmers to take advantage of this to ensure they are receiving the best advice possible in these difficult circumstances.

I am also acutely conscious of the human element in these difficult on-farm circumstances. The confidential help and advice offered by the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI), Farm Community Network (FCN) and the Addington Trust are very important and welcome services in this context. I am currently reviewing how Welsh Government could further support their work during this period where their resources are under significant pressure. I will also be meeting with colleagues from local government in the areas affected, and working with wider representatives of the voluntary sector to see what other reasonable offers of help may be needed in the near term.

With regard to the future, we will need to assess the longer-term consequences of the recent weather for the Welsh livestock sector and particularly for the lamb market. Together with the industry we will also need to monitor the wider situation on availability of feed across Wales, given that opportunities for grazing have already been significantly delayed this year. But, as a number of stakeholders have said to me in the last fortnight, we also need to review the farming sector’s ability to withstand weather events of this sort, and other emergencies that from time to time arise. This in turn plays into the long-term financial viability and wider sustainability of the sector, particularly in our uplands.

Agriculture will always be reliant on the climate, and concerns raised with me about the cumulative impacts of this latest episode of severe weather suggest there may be an inherent underlying weakness in farm businesses’ resilience (individually and collectively) to cope when difficult circumstances arise. The lamb sector, for example, has experienced a relatively steady period of stable or increasing prices and growing incomes in recent years. It is a matter of great concern if a single year of reduced prices, together with the difficult weather, causes such apparent economic disruption to the sector. These problems cannot simply be remedied by providing further public subsidy, as some have suggested, although how we shape future CAP support is clearly an important part of the picture. It is crucial that we develop effective and resilient farm businesses for the future.

I am therefore establishing an independent review to assess and advise me on these issues, how the sector works with itself and others to meet contingencies, and what might be done to strengthen resilience at business, sector and cross-Wales level. The review will also consider some of the business models that presently apply in the industry, particularly among the livestock sectors, and whether they are actually viable in the longer term. This will be an important piece of work both for Government and for the industry. It will help inform our work in developing CAP arrangements in Wales for the next seven years, and how we shape the next Rural Development Plan. It will also feed into our work on responsibility and cost-sharing, and on taking forward our Working Smarter agenda.

I have asked Kevin Roberts, former Director General of the NFU in England and Wales, and former Chief Executive of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, who has both a financial and commercial background, to lead this review. I look forward to working with Kevin and with the industry to help strengthen the farming sector in Wales for the future.

I will continue to monitor the situation for those areas still affected by the adverse weather, and I remain fully committed to working with the agricultural sector in Wales through this difficult time. I will make a further statement on the weather situation next week, and will also set out further details regarding Kevin Roberts’ review.

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.



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Men From Mars – Women From Venus But As For Wag …..

12 Apr

After a further frustrating week trying to work with wag food and other wag departments, I think this analogy should apply to the private and public sectors here in Wales, do you feel the same?

You are all aware that I have been waiting impatiently, and impatient is the polite description, for wag food to send through their funding list through for this year. The latest news was that we’d get the list w/c 1st April, but it was more likely to be Friday 5th. Well Friday arrived, but no list. As the day passed another reminder was sent through which brought the response that the list was now awaiting Ministerial approval – and no idea when it would be rubber-stamped.

Now being bright – well bright ish? Right ok then, let’s agree not totally stupid, I do get that the Civil Service cannot ‘work’ without their paperwork being rubber-stamped by those in the hot seats of power. But the point I’d like them to take on board is to communicate, yes communicate, talk to people and journalists that are talking to them. Wag food know I’ve been champing at the bit to get this list. I’ve asked and asked and asked, even for a simple timescale. Then they do give me a timescale, they then don’t stick to it. Of course they’ll have their reasons but that isn’t my grumble. With Welsh Country magazine, if we have promised a client something by a set date, we know the onus is on us to deliver as promised. If for some reason we can’t do as promised, then we know it is our duty to make contact and explain why things have not gone according to our plan. It is not down to our clients to chase us. So why does that differ with the government? Couldn’t wag food simply have sent me the briefest of emails on Friday 5th saying the list is awaiting Ministerial rubber-stamping and is likely to be sent through some day soon? Couldn’t they then keep me in the loop? What is difficult or time-consuming about that? Have they got hundreds of journalists across Wales wanting this information from them? I guess not, but keeping me in the loop, keeping me happy or in my view, behaving profesionally  is not how it works on wag food.

As you well know, this lack of communication from wag in all departments really riles me, basically because there’s no reason or excuse for it in my book. I’m frequently offered the ‘we’re very busy’ excuse, which is very insulting as it actually means you are not a priority for me to deal with, just wait. Whereas in our small company we bend over backwards to help clients in any way we can, but the difference is, if we don’t offer superb, friendly service our clients might just walk away and go elsewhere. I only wish I had this option with wag food. Wag food continue to make me feel that’s I’m the enemy, which surprises me as it’s a lack of brain power and a lack of forward thinking, which should be to keep us on side as we can not only make your life easier but we also might be able to help each other – which will make life better for our food producers.

So as I post this, mid Friday afternoon, a further week on, I still don’t have the food festival list. I’m left reeling with wag’s lack of customer service and customer care. Mars, Venus, public or private sector, I cannot believe how we will ever relate to each other, despite the fact that they are our civil servants and we pay their wages………now when have I said that before????

Best Of Welsh & Borders producers can rest assured that whenever wag food deem it fit to send me the full list – I’ll forward it  through to you.

Sorry not able to do a better job for you and you’ll understand when I say I feel like giving up…………            


No Buyer Found For Vion

11 Apr

The bid which was in the pipeline for Vion, the red meat processing plant on Anglesey has failed. So as of this Friday, 350 people will be unemployed. This means the last major slaughter facility in north Wales will close and will lead to a large drop in overall slaughter capacity in Wales and a loss of levy income.

The Gaerwen site was one of two on Anglesey owned by Vion, although a buyer was found for the sister poultry plant at Llangefni allowing 300 posts to be safeguarded. The purchase was made in March by the Birmingham-based 2 Sisters Food Group, along with sites at Sandycroft in Flintshire, where 1,300 people are employed, and at Merthyr Tydfil where another 1,300 jobs were saved.


Food Festival Funding – Wag’s Rubber Stamp Is Still Missing

11 Apr

Please, please, please stop asking me if wag’s festival funding list is out. I have NOT yet had it – promise.

My unofficial take on it is that the Minister’s rubber stamp to sign off this funding list is still missing! So until ‘someone’ finds it, we have no choice but to wait and wait…………patiently? No certainly not.

The Minister must be very, very busy as this was supposedly marked as urgent. But those of you ike me in the real world will know well enough that there’s urgent in the private business world and there’s urgent in the public world, but sadly these are woefully not the same.

Let me remind you all again that if you are one of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, as soon as we are sent the funding list, you will all be emailed it!!!



Food Festival Funding

05 Apr

After waiting for the wag festival funding list to arrive as promised on w/c 1st April, which means it may be the 5th.

Not hearing from wag food, I emailed this afternoon to be told they are awaiting ministerial approval. No further detail given. I’ve gone back again asking when will I have this information and now been told basically they don’t know when the minister will approve although it is marked ‘urgent’

Apparently the best idea is for food festival organisers is to contact wag food direct, sorry but there’s absolutely no point in any more people pestering me for information. I don’t have it!!!!!!

I’ve said that once we receive the list we’ll send if around our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers and that will happen – promise. Now there is nothing else I can do. Please don’t shoot the messenger, I’m only relaying what I’m told from wag food. I’m sure they meant it when they told me this will be out w/c 1st April, but I should have known better shouldn’t I?

I’m only sorry for organisers who find waiting for news of wag funding so stressful. I really do wonder why so many of you take on this so often thankless role.