Update On Food & Drink Board

04 Mar

Thanks to the unknown sender of the latest brown envelope to arrive on my desk. I understand you not wishing to be named, but I’m grateful for your help. The envelope contained a letter sent to Assembly Members from our Deputy Minister for Farming and Food. But this latest news is obviously of no interest to food journalists or food bloggers as we’ve no interest in food have we??? But I must ask why is this information not given to us? Why is it kept behind wag’s closed doors. Doesn’t anyone in wag think there is any interest or concern about what is happening with this board? The government says that Welsh food and drink is important to Wales but if that’s true, tell us what is happening. 

Anyway my unknown source thinks I and then you, should know about this and it now means that this letter keeps us in the loop as to what is happening with the Welsh Food and Drink Board. But it’s disappointing that wag food cannot tell me and you officially. I would have thought something that relates to food and drink producers would have prompted them to update those very people, but seemingly not and as for journalists we don’t matter either. 

Anyway here it is in full: 

 24th February 2015

In 2014 the Welsh Government launched and published ‘Towards Sustainable Growth: an Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020′. The plan has been, and continues to be about actions, targets and timescales. It is not a high level strategy, but focuses on the delivery of actions to encourage industry growth and deliver on a number of other Welsh Government priorities including tackling poverty and the greening of growth. There are 48 actions in total.  The actions show the Welsh Government as an active and supportive partner to industry, by providing clarity, certainty, and confidence.

With firm support from industry, we undertook to establish a Food and Drink Wales Industry Board to bring the sector together and help drive sustainable growth. The Board must be industry-led and will provide direction, encourage networking and share market development information. It must take joint ownership of the Action Plan with Government and implement changes. Although Welsh Government will support the Board in its early phases, it will become independent of government and offer direct advice to Welsh Government.

In July 2014, Robin Jones was appointed as interim Chair of the shadow Board. Robin is Managing Director of The Village Bakery. During the autumn the Welsh Government (WG) advertised to recruit potential members of the Board through a “light touch” public appointments process with an appointment panel including Robin.

I am pleased to announce that the following persons have been invited to join the shadow Board:

 David Lloyd, ZER02FIVE Food Industry Centre, Cardiff

Marcus Sherrerard, Dawn Meats, Carmarthenshire

Llior Radford, Llaeth y Lian, Denbigh

Andy Richardson, Volac, Felinfach, Lampeter

Justin Scale, Capstone Organic, Pembrokeshire

Buster Grant, Brecon Brewing, Brecon

Huw Thomas, Puffin Produce, Pembrokeshire

Alison Lea-Wilson, Halen Mon, Anglesey

Norma Barry, Consultant, Cardiff

In addition, I have asked Robin to undertake a further recruitment exercise to increase the breadth of coverage of the Board, and to encourage applications from under-represented groups. While the exercise is underway, the new Board will operate in shadow form, pending a full launch in the summer when it reaches full complement. The shadow Board’s inaugural meeting under Robin’s chairmanship will take place early next month. I have every confidence that once the Board is fully established it will enable us to deliver the vision of growing our industry in Wales by 30% by the year 2020, and I look forward to working with Robin and his colleagues to that end.

Robin Jones was appointed in July 2014, but it will be a full twelve months before the board is launched officially, so it seems there’s no hurry for wag there then.

Interesting that former Head Of Wag Food, Norma Barry is on the board, sorry another poor pun, as a consultant. I had a great deal of respect for Norma when she was in charge of food and was very sorry to see her leave that role. But if you search for Norma on LinkedIn you’ll find that Norma lists her appointment to this board two months ago………………………      



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  1. bow

    March 5, 2015 at 9:42 am

    I get politicians being told but this is about producers and we are not told.
    How can that work when this is what we do for a living, but wag food clearly show we are of little interest.
    Big guys rule
    those whose faces fit with wag food
    those with brown noses
    those who have had lots of grants
    those who will toe wag’s line
    it makes me livid that wag still don’t care about us

  2. bow

    March 5, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I can understand telling politicians
    I cannot understand not telling us
    I don’t want the big boys dictating our future alongside wag but that is what’s happening.
    Kath bangs on for ever about communicating but at least she show wag how to do it even if they cannot grasp what communication means.
    Wag want us kept in the dark and fed on – – – –

  3. bow

    March 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I’m with comments left
    it’s a disgrace that wag food can’t be bothered to tell us what the duce is going on.
    Why is it down to Kath, who you don’t pay £43k P.A. to update her site, to tell us?
    We’ll have more interest in this board then the bulk of politicians.
    Get a grip wag

  4. Jay

    March 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    We’ve nine people listed here
    now how many of these have not had grants or been paid for by wag?
    Who decided Robin Jones was to take the chair? Bet it was wag. So in effect wag is still controlling yet another board.
    I guess but now idea that Robin’s firm have also been well funded.
    My point is that if they have been funded by wag then these people are already in wag’s pocket. Yes people?
    I’ve never been funded, and it’s not that people should not grab money from wag when it’s there, but then you are obligated to them aren’t you?
    Ms Barry is down as a consultant but not sure then who pays her.
    I’m confused and concerned that this board will be another talking shop that is there to tick more wag boxes.
    I really don’t get this at all and cannot see, apart from the brewery, any micro producers.
    I’m so worried that this is a big boys club , well another one rubber stamped if not manipulated by wag.
    They are the ones with the cash so it’s their way or no way.

  5. Honey

    March 6, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Never heard of and certainly not met the deputy minister but then that applies to head of food as well and he’s been employed long enough now but never does a tour of the food stand even at RWAS.

    I’m sure the deputy minister is obliged to inform her fellow politicians, but why isn’t wag food obliged to tell the food and drink producers what is going on?
    Why is no-one in that food department understanding that they tell us nothing and that cannot be right or fair. It should be part of their job as Kath keeps telling them.
    Without Kath’s regular emails to their best of welsh, and this site, we’d have no idea at all about what is being planned for our industry, or the massive amounts of money this department wastes.
    My opinion matters not at all to wag food but then my nose aint brown. But to carry on bullying Kath and ignoring her is stupid of them and results in that department hitting rock bottom.
    I’m one of quite a few thinking that this department isn’t fit for purpose, but of course that’s our view and no-one is fussed about what we think.

  6. BOW

    March 6, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I’ve no prob with ams being told what’s happening with food but I do have a problem that no-one can be interested in telling us that are working in this food and drink sector.
    Why is there only Kath fighting on our side?
    Why is she always doing wag food’s jobs for them?
    Then instead of being thanked she is now battered and bullied by them, why? Why? Why?
    How long will it take wag food to wake up?
    Kath I called yesterday to find out more and thank you for your honesty on various topics. Thanks too for all this work you do to help wag because they are not interested and for backing us.

  7. Bow

    March 13, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    My fear is this board of basically by and large gov. face fitters will simplty be a rubber stamp.
    What is the point of asking people to apply, dragging them in for interview and of the supposed 40 applicants we’ve a protem bunch of nine. They have yet to have a meeting and the dep minister now tells the chairman, and not sure hwho gave him that job has to find others to come on the government rubber stamping board. Isn’t this what this is all about?
    No wonder this industry doesn’t grow as it should it’s strangled by this government.

  8. BOW

    March 23, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Producers have been told nothing about this but we are not surprised at all – why should we have an interest in our very own iindustry?
    wag food are on a different planet to us for sure they are.
    thanks for keeping us in this loop K. You are brilliant as suspect wag food have told you nothing either…….

  9. Tez

    March 25, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Is their any chance we’ll find out anything about what goes on at these meetings?
    Guess this is a silly question as wag food tell us nothing about their plans for our industry.
    The board seems to me, with maybe a couple of exceptions, another jobs for the boys game.

  10. Parrot

    March 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Yes this is a silly question.
    You are asking and expecting far too much from wag food if you think they’re going to send minutes of each meeting to food producers.

  11. Weary

    April 17, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Yes I’m weary of wag food wasting what little energy they appear to have on another board.
    Wag food are totally out-of-touch with us producers.
    How can they get a complete representation of the food and drink industry when my husband and I can’t possibly find time to, in effect do wag foods bidding? Neither of us can spare time to attend meetings when wag decide to have them. Some micro producers have the same view as me, but maybe someone will take the risk and apply.
    BUT their face must fit wag’s profile, like their nose must be brown. But not sure many want to be on yet another government talking shop.
    I can’t wait to see who’ll be put on this board for marketing, but I could make a calculated guess!
    It will be another company with a dark brown nose that knows how to toe wag’s line, otherwise their funding will dry up.
    We all know these people must be vetted by wag, so I cannot see the point. Wag make it look open, but it’s far from that. What was wrong with all the initial people who put themselves forward?
    This board will achieve nothing practical for the bottom rung, micro producers.