Are HCC Supporting Farmers?

31 Jul

Two booklets published by HCC, Hybu Cig Cymru,  the Decade of Success and the Royal Welsh Show 2013 Food and Drink Wales state that HCC ‘works with Farmers Markets’.

That puzzled our team as we are regularly ‘got at’ by butchers who say that HCC do little if anything for them, HCC is focused on supermarkets and exports, not butchers. But in case I was missing something in the world of Welsh meat, HCC was asked to clarify.

Their response was as follows:
With regards to your question, HCC has supported farmers markets in different ways over the years. For example, we have given cooking demonstrations at several markets, including Riverside in Cardiff. We have also provided farmers who sell at these markets with promotional material. Farm shops that sell PGI Welsh Lamb or PGI Welsh Beef have also been provided with material which includes recipe booklets, posters, etc.

I’m afraid I didn’t find that helpful. Citing Cardiff Riverside market is fine but it’s one of the few markets that’s not struggling as much as many others across Wales. Please don’t expect me to believe that what happens in capital reflects what’s going on over the whole of Wales. I find it rather insulting that HCC will come out with a statement that they are ‘working with Farmers’ Markets’ is not a serious statement that can be followed through.

HCC have now been asked what they have done for specific Farmers’ Markets in the last twelve months. I’ll make sure their answer is passed onto you.  

My other concern, that has been raised quite a few times on welshfoodbites is that HCC go on and on about how supportive they are to farmers and retailers that sell PGI Welsh lamb and beef, but if they are doing such a good job with PGI, then why are we talking to butchers who have no idea what PGI is? Whoops, sorry, maybe those are the butchers that haven’t yet told HCC that they are butchers with a shop in Wales, so hopefully HCC can add them to their database and then send them out some literature. I apologise for forgetting the onus is on our butchers to tell HCC they are trading, which is perhaps just one of the reasons that HCC still cannot tell me how many independent butchers there are in Wales.

No point wasting further time with HCC but I do wonder how many readers of Welsh Country magazine, i.e. our Welsh Joe Public, have heard of or have a clue just what PGI is all about………………………..

A further comment from on HCC states: HCC do not give direct financial aid to any farmers markets. As previously mentioned,
what we do is give those farmers and butchers who sell PGI Welsh Lamb or PGI Welsh Beef and who have stalls at farmers markets the same promotional assistance that we give other retailers that sell PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh

Well I think most of us in the industry are aware that HCC do not support financially any farmers’ markets, but seemingly Riverside was in favour with HCC at some stage  with a cookery demonstration. Wowee! So when HCC publish booklets that are for the public too, saying they support farmers’ markets, what they actually mean is that they support farmers and butchers that are involved with PGI. Well why can’t HCC be up front and say just that?  Aren’t the Welsh public confused enough without HCC adding to it?

Talk about knocking you head against a brick wall ………………………………….

Ian’s taken the trouble to email farmers’ markets asking what support they’ve had from HCC – three replies back within literally 10 minutes saying: That’s easy – nothing! And another saying None. I doubt HCC know we exist.

Haven’t time to update this with any further responses but starting off with 3 so quickly is something, but it’s so annoying  with this feedback and I can only wish that HCC can take it on board.


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  1. beefy

    July 31, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    HCC support farmers not funny they don’t support butchers either as you’ve discovered
    It’s not funny it makes us all angry unless we are big enough to go the supermarket route or huge enough to export.
    Otherwise they show a huge lack of interest in the rest of us and always have done.
    Putting into print they support farmers’ markets is their worst joke ever and guess it’s only the people above them that will believe that statement.
    I don’t care if you don’t get more than 3 replies from markets, 3 saying no support is enough for me to prove you are right, again.
    HCC are obsessed with PGI but you’ve been saying for a long time that no-one really gets it but the cannot listen to you
    HCC will carry on regardless ploughing their own stupid way.

  2. admin

    July 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    We’ve had now a total of 14 replies in less than a day and 13 of them saying no support at all from HCC. In fact some saying they’d never heard of HCC!!!!!!
    It’s sad to show HCC up again but it’s our Best Of Welsh producers that matter to us and they don’t appreciate HCC saying they support farmers markets when in fact they only give out booklets to PGI producers – if they know about them!

  3. Producer

    August 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Did you know HCC are supposed to promote Welsh pork? Neither do they….

  4. admin

    August 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I was at their breakfast meeting at the RAWS and it was beef and lamb that were talked about
    Ian has been ploughing through HCC Bulletin and in the 22 pages of it there is one whole page on pork……..New Report Highlights The Potential Of The Welsh Pig Industry – one whole page unless I missed other huge pig news. Seemingly pigs put in £6m to agricultural output in Wales and spend on pork products totalled £217 million but it appears that’s it not enough for HCC to really support this sector of the industry. There’s a review but email me if you want details I’m not prepared to do PR & Marketing for HCC for free!!!!!!!!!! I just wait like you for when we and HCC can all work together. Just don’t hold you breath because they still believe they are doing a good job for red meat.

  5. producer

    August 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

    There are many of us struggling to market our pork despite its top quality and HCC are totally useless
    beef or lamb guys are ok but us porkies are seriously wasting our time. It’s support we need from HCC but we haven’t a hope in – – – – of getting it. Instead of HCC spending their time patting themselves on the back they need to support us porkies.
    You helped us so much, but you will never get HCC to admit they can do a better job for us, if only that would happen.

    It takes big men to do that

  6. Producer2

    August 1, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    This does not square with the Beaufort Research. HCC are congratulating themselves on their website about how they have improved the market for beef and lamb, but the Beaufort Research proves this is not the case.

    Straight marketing is what we need for all Welsh meat, not this one track mind on PGI. So HCC, if you are reading this, how about a campaign with “Tasti” as a slogan?

    Or how about taking up the pork strapline and advertising idea that were sent to you, free gratis and for nothing, a couple of years ago?

  7. trader 2

    August 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    are HCC supporting farmers? they never have and suppose unlikely they ever will.
    they can’t support butchers either unless they understand PGI