Action Plan Launch Food & Drinks Industry 2014-20

24 Apr

I shall start this post as I did my last post, I got some news in this morning, needless to say, not from wag food. This one was about the Action Plan for 2014 -2020. Apparently next month this Action Plan is being officially launched in Cardiff. Obviously it is not important to tell the Welsh media so early about this launch at St Davids’ Hotel, but pleased wag’s budgets can run to paying for this venue, they must think that cost effective and value for our tax payers money. Thankfully our Best Of Welsh grapevine is working well, although I was told if I’d had stayed to the end of the fifth meeting I would have been told then. Well now need to defend my corner. Initially I was invited to this 5th meeting, then my invitation was withdrawn. After making a fuss, I was told I could attend providing everyone there knew I was press! Then on signing in wag food got our company name wrong, didn’t bother to alter it when they sent out to everyone a list of attendees! However I did tell wag food we’d be leaving early afternoon to go onto Cardiff for the Countryside Alliance Awards evening but of course I didn’t expect anyone in wag food to update me. That would come under the heading of wag communicating with me ……

I’m sure many of you will be aware of my views of this Action Plan which has been promoted as for Welsh food, with ideas from the industry, not the Welsh Government. Wag food ran 5 meetings but stupidly, again in my view, these were all held during the day. Does wag food seriously think most producers can take time out their working day? Sorry silly question, we know how difficult it is for wag food to think and certainly at micro producer level. But then as that group of producers tell me wag food have never been interested in them, they can’t visualise growth for them with the right support, Welsh food and drink is important to Wales but wag food have no right to dismiss micro food producers.

I’m a cynical journalist, that’s a fact, but as I understand it only 77 ‘people/companies from the food industry submitted their views and comments. Just 77 from an industry that has 14,000 registered businesses and employs 45,000 people. If I’d have been working for wag food, 77 attendees is not something I’d want broadcasting, because it is proof of wag’s complete failure in communicating with the industry they are supposedly working for. I know I go on endlessly about communication, or in wag foods’ case the total lack of it, but I was hoping my water-on-a-stone-technique would work with wag food, but not so far. If I’d been doing the PR for these meetings, I’d sure hope I could have persuaded more to attend, which could easily have been achieved if the meetings had been held at night!!! If I couldn’t obtain e more than 77 responses I’d be asking why? Why isn’t the industry interested? Wag food could have easily got my opinion if they wanted it, which is now even clear to me that they don’t!

The fifth meeting that Ian and I attending was an additional meeting asked for by people attending the other four, well cynical Kath thinks Quango people like meetings! You’ll not be surprised that I was disappointed that my fellow attendees at that final meeting were by and large from Welsh Food Quangos, I only noticed 2-3 food producers. So what does that tell you? Firstly that Wales funds a heck of a lot of food related Quangos, so it doesn’t appear wag foods’ budgets have been chopped too much in that area and secondly, that Quangos can take time away from their desks during the day, unlike food producers.

So that’s the latest news, and many thanks to those of you keeping me updated, it’s good to talk…………………….




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  1. Mr M

    April 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I’ll risk your wrath now.
    I didn’t attend any meetings.
    I didn’t fill in their form.
    I didn’t even email them either to say I’ve no time for this dept.
    You’ll be furious with me, so I’ll try and avoid you at Gorseinon.
    I’ve no patience to try and get help from them, you’re pushed around in circles or ignored. I can’t even find out what other festivals are running unless I went to them last year.
    I attended the last lot of meetings. I like many others said a 4-5 year plan, but we were all ignored. No-one from that lot seems at all bothered with us at the lower end, but as you rightly say some help, some support and we’d all be able to afford another staff member at least.
    Your comment about Quangos was valid they seem to be growing in numbers rather than shrinking, budgets ok there then.

  2. Foodie

    April 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I did fill in the form. It strained a few grey cells as it certainly was not an easy task. I wonder how many had a look at it and thought it was too complex?
    There was a definite slant all the way through on pushing training and while this may be applicable to some businesses, what most of us small producers is so niche that we do any training in-house that is necessary.
    I have little to no hope that anything I wrote will be throught about for a nanosecond.. I do not export to somewhere hot or exotic, so there is no point in helping me!
    So I shall continue in my own little way, paying tax and employing people, but then again, that is not what WAG needs, or is it? Open your eyes, WAG, every large food producer started small!

  3. Sarah Miller

    April 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    OK the Action Plan 2014-2020; lets not kid ourselves however many or few attended these 4/5 meetings WAG will spend that massive budget as they see fit with no thought to any feedback they may or may not have received. In addition we all know that they are also very adept at moving the criteria of the goal posts as to how that funding is allocated – believe me I know. !!
    Faced with such barriers to assistance, I think that as a producer group of hard working, self motivated micro producers we need to get on with building our business’s.
    We really do not need their box ticking, dis interested, non business orientated civil servants interfering in our enterprises (they are always late for meetings anyway).
    Take all the free appropriate advice available, attend all the free/heavily subsidised courses you can attend; even free labour in some instances; but keep focus on your goals, objectives, markets, customers, sales and bottom line and you will succeed. WAG are only interested in the big boys, it was announced on Breakfast TV this morning; so us ‘small kids on the block’ need to accept it, move on and when we succeed on our own money, merit, labours, family exploitatiion, ingenuity, we can completely ignore their triviality, ignorance and say we ‘did it for ourselves’.
    I know WAG should not be let off the hook, but for now we should not waste our energies fighting something that does not care we exist; we need to demonstrate we are out there. !!! good luck to everyone SME/micro for this year. Sarah

  4. doc

    April 25, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I think it’s interesting to know only 77 forms were filled in just a pity we don’t know how many food Quangos there are in Wales, because they’d HAVE to fill one in. Look after the wag hand that is feeding them, that’s how this system works.
    It’s true that wag don’t give a toss about micro companies, they never have and sure they never will. Agree with Sarah, take as much free help that is going, the only problem is finding out what is available out there because wag don’t make it easy to get it, unless your nose is brown and you are one of their favoured few. Some Welsh counties are better than others, but that’s not saying much for the 22 we have.
    Sarah talks sense

  5. producer

    April 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Wag food rule the roost.
    And food Quangos seem to breed like rabbits. Goodness knows how many there are in Wales, but in money is so tight why haven’t many been chopped due to budget cuts? Don’t get that.

  6. trader boy

    April 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    wag food interested in us – they’d have more interest in a computer virus.
    but carry on ignore micro food businesses as you’d done for decades
    if we survive it’s without you, if we grow it’s despite wag food civil servants

  7. foodie 2

    April 30, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I didn’t bother sending my views in either.
    We might have a new regime in but wag food haven’t told me that, you have.
    New food policy plans wag didn’t tell me that, you did. You said do something about it I can’t see the point when I was ignored last time.
    If this is a new regime, from our side there’s no difference. We have still no idea what’s going on unless Kath and the team email us or we read welshfoodbites.
    No change, but we at the lower end had no hope for change. You got that one wrong Kath – which is not like you.

  8. beer boy

    April 30, 2014 at 11:41 am

    We are all now confessing. Sorry not to do as you ask but I’ve lost the little respect I had for wag food. I’m not wasting my time and energy again filling in their forms when micro people like me will be ignored as before.
    there’s no point
    Wag are not there for us that’s the truth they can’t read this site and understand how heartily sick of them we are.
    I do get the work you have done but no reason for you to keep doing their job for them.
    77 responses what a joke.
    I hope that message gets through to wag, but don’t believe they’ll understand us any more than they have done in the past, which is nothing at all.
    give up Kath wag food are a lost cause