Back To The Board

14 Jul

A Best Of Welsh & Border producer told me this morning that on wag’s website there is a brief CV and images of some of the people on wag food’s latest talking shop. Thanks for keeping me in that loop.

Their post says: The Board will be the voice of the food and drink industry in Wales, providing direction, encouraging networking and sharing vital information. It will take shared ownership with Welsh Government of Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020, and report on its progress to Ministers, and in time may move to a position where is will be independent of government.

The Food & Drink Board will be the ‘voice’ of the Welsh food and drink industry is just more words, but I can see little action. I do wonder how it can be the voice of this industry when wag food is unable to communicate to its Welsh food and drink producers. I’ve been telling them for years that this is one of their many basic problems, but as so often happens my words fall on wag food’s deaf ears. After all what do I know about Welsh food and drink? Ok I can hear you all shouting – nothing!!!

Then we are told that the ‘new’ board will take shared ownership with the Welsh Government of Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food & Drink Industry 2014 -2020. How can the new board take ‘shared’ ownership? It can only do as the Welsh Government directs them. As is always the case, Wag are the ones in charge, which is made crystal clear in the composition of this board. Has anyone any idea which of these businesses elected onto this board have not received funding from wag? Then I have to ask where are the micro producers? Is Buster classed as that? Or are wag food once more deciding that micro businesses are not that important here.

Can wag food tell me how many micro food and drink producers there are in Wales?

Can wag food clarify how they communicate to any food and drink producers in Wales?


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  1. trader

    July 15, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Well you are the bearer of exciting news, no I’m joking.
    This is jobs-for-the-boys, or as Kath puts it, those with brown noses and grant funded by wasteful wag.
    It appears all governments are out touch of touch with the public and Wales does lead the way in this field.
    The food department is even worse than it was and none of us thought that possible.
    I know you’ve said you were wrong backing the new guy, but I too want to say you were, but at least you own up to your mistake unlike our civil servants and politicians.
    I can’t wait for May elections.

  2. Parrot

    July 15, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I keep having to repeat myself.
    I don’t think I was wrong backing the new guy. He deserved a chance to find his feet and amke a difference and that’s what I did. That was the right and fair thing for me to do.
    I was hoping for many changes and a breath of fresh air sweeping through that dept.
    That’s not happened and on that we agree.
    How we change it is the problem when you are dealing with ‘people’ who will not listen.

  3. Mr T

    July 15, 2015 at 8:56 am

    At least we know through your emails and this site what is going on in our industry.
    If only we could control government policy but the pity is they’ve not got the knowledge, experience and understanding of this industry. And the even worse bit is their civil servants have no understanding either and are too lazy to find out what we want and what we need to improve our businesses.
    But that lot are ok because we still keep paying them! We are too kind.

  4. Daz

    July 15, 2015 at 11:04 am

    It’s hard for us to accept that those with the power and the public cash are not working for us.
    This site has established clearly that opinion and people agree that the politicians and the civil servants in the food department don’t get what we are trying to do and build with our businesses.
    You could say what do you expect from civil servants, but I think they should be trained to understand this industry and talk to us, talk to us.
    I’ve yet to chat with anyone that thinks this talking shop will help us in any way.
    Like others have said, it’s not long until the elections in May when we’ll have a vote to find candidates that will put food first.

  5. bow

    July 15, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Give up Kath you’ll get nowhere getting them to talk to you, explain, clarify and you’re a journalist, although wag food don’t see you as that, which is pathetic.
    And if they’ll not talk to you, we shouldn’t expect them to inform or discusss with us anything they’re doing with our industry.
    It’s a sad situation, but I cannot see wag food will change their attitude.
    Wag think they’re right and as for us, they don’t show we matter.

  6. FOODIE 3

    July 16, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Thanks for this, but I, like many others are not bothered
    about this board.
    You were right from the start that it’s a wag thing, they want people on the board they like and approve of. And to that end these people appear to have been well funded by wag or they are a quango – paid by wag. So they can claim their expenses and fight their corner providing wag agree.
    A voice for Welsh food and drink, hardly.
    Wag can’t hear our voice because their ears are blocked to our voices.
    This site has given then over 4 years of our comments and they ignored them as they ignore Kath and Ian.
    Another quote from Kath is that common sense is not commonly available, well I’d add def. not for civil servants and the government. .

  7. BOW

    July 16, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I’d be shocked if there were any comments left about being pleased to have this talking shop.
    Actually I’d be gobsmacked because that’s not what the chat is at markets and festivals.
    Some haven’t even heard about it, but those that have, think it’s a talking shop only for wag to tick another box. With all those ticks you wag people should have been teachers.

  8. Brecon Brewing

    July 16, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Just to clarify, Brecon Brewing have not received any funding from Welsh Government, either for establishing or developing the company, with the exception of creating a job through the Jobs Growth Wales scheme.

    Maybe we should have tried harder!

    Despite being a member of the Board, I am yet to be convinced of its real benefit to the smallest (and most numerous) producers in Wales. By its very nature, this Board must deal with broad strokes, and concepts for larger businesses – this is where the current monitoring (and therefore measurement of targets) is aimed.

    As has been pointed out on many an occasion, communication is one of the biggest problems facing us all. This has been highlighted by the Board as something that needs addressing, and fast.

    I passionately believe we have some of the World’s best food and drink producers in Wales, and together, we are much stronger. This means that if the work of the Board can improve the lot of producers, this must be a good thing. Despite my comment above, I do believe that something positive can be achieved, although it will take time for these benefits to take root.

    If I didn’t think the Board could do something positive, I wouldn’t be involved – believe me, I don’t have the time!

  9. Parrot

    July 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    It’s a help Buster you clearing that up for everyone, but maybe you should have tried harder!!!!!
    I’m pleased you got on the board as you are really the only micro/smaller producer and it’s vital this group is not ignored again by wag.
    I’m with you on us having some of the world’s best food and drink producers in Wales. That’s the reason we’ve worked so hard to try and get that through to wag. We’ve carried on supporting them as best we can for 10 years despite bullying by wag – which achieves nothing postive.
    My worry, as well you know, is the Welsh Government not backing and getting the best out of our producers and to stop their wasting so much money on stupid projects.
    I accept what you are saying about broad brush strokes, concepts for larger businesses, but this is to achieve the targets that the goverment have set themselves. It’s not a reason that micro producers should be ignored. Or that the Welsh public and the hospitality sector shouldn’t have easy access to our Wesh food and drink – the fact is they don’t and that is shocking.
    I’m grateful for you taking the time to be a ‘bored’ member and hope it goes better than I fear. Be happy to be proved wrong on this one…………………………

  10. bow

    July 17, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Buster is one of the few good guys and a great brewer.
    The work he’s done for Drink Wales is to his credit.
    Chuffed he’s on this board. But he can’t have the time I just hope his time will not be wasted because that would be criminal. It will not mean anything to wag though, well paid civil servants.
    Wag constantly fail to understand that the likes of Buster, us food and drink producers and Kath and Ian, we haven’t the bonus of getting a salary in our banks each month regardless of our performance.
    If wag could grasp this basic fact we might make some progress.

  11. Foodie 5

    July 17, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I too back Buster, big time.
    But I do think we all need to take a good look at ourselves. Most of us didn’t put ourselves forward for this talking shop and I’m cross with Kath and Ian that they didn’t. But guess they thought they’d not get on. First time I’ve been cross with Kath and Ian.
    It isn’t fair though that we’d expect Buster to be able to do much, if anything, for micro and small producers in this talking shop.
    Buster is as busy and stressed as any of us but he has put himself forward, top man.

  12. Parrot

    July 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Be cross with me by all means but unless you applied and were rejected I don’t think that’s fair do you?
    Do you honestly think with the situation I’m in with wag and wag food, being bullied and by and large ignored, that I’d want to bother applying?
    I’d love to know who did apply on both occasions and why people were rejected, but that’s something I’ll never find out and I doubt you will either.
    I do agree with you about Buster, he’s a hard working guy and does so much for Drink Wales.
    I’m grateful he was accepted by wag as Chairman he should have been. But we can’t expect him to move mountains on his own, that would not be fair.

  13. BOW

    July 22, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Good to see you at Royal on Monday pity there are never other welsh media there interested in food and interested in welsh producers.
    I’ve been told wag food people were and are also at the Royal there but maybe you know why they are never wearing badges as you and Ian are.
    I’m not impressed that they are not able to work the food hall as you two do. And as for seeing them at any food festivals, well does that happen?

  14. Parrot

    July 22, 2015 at 11:51 am

    It was good to catch up with you and so many of our Best Of Welsh both in the Food Hall, Glamorgan Hall and the farmers’ market.
    We set out our stall for Welsh Food and Drink ten years ago but it’s easy to understand other Welsh media not bothering.
    It’s impossible to get food and drink questions answered and not easy either to get news of what wag food are doing.
    I was blanked by one wag food person very early Monday morning and didn’t look for or spot any others. My take is ALL wag people should be badged up. I’ve mentioned this many times. Quite often they haven’t even got business cards with them. Business should never ever do that, but it seems civil servants can. That’s their choice not to be badged up. There’s no rule for it but commonsense should apply. I would have thought the Head of Food would have seen badges as useful considering most food and drink producers have no idea who his staff are or what they do. It’s more secrets.
    They obviously don’t see it part of their role to ‘work’ the food hall and there is nothing I can do about it, it’s not my problem, sorry. If you wish to take it up with Head of Food I can give you details.
    We don’t see wag food at food festivals unless maybe Cardiff and the likes of Abergavenny. But I’m sure they’ll not see that as part of their job and then you wouldn’t know as they’d not be badged up.
    I have never and still don’t, understand how wag food dept. runs, so I’m not the person to question.
    I can only give you my take on Welsh food and drink. It’s clear wag food are in control as far as the cash is concerned and they will do what they think best, even if it isn’t and not what producers want. Thats food and drink life in Wales.
    I’m sorry not to be more help. Do talk to wag food if you want questions answered, but I shall be jealous if you get sensible responses, but I would also suggest, don’t hold your breath……………………..

  15. trader

    July 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Kath is this board independent?
    I cannot see a further talking shop will help our home market.
    wag are after exports first.

  16. Parrot

    July 22, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I do not have any more information than you can find for yourself on wag’s website.
    wag say this board is independent wag say this will be the voice of the industry.
    I wonder how it can be a voice when apart from Buster there are no micro prodcuers on it. But as we think wag and wag food are so far ignoring micro producers they will not need them on this board.
    Wag say they will have a seat on this board but as yet I’ve no idea who that will be. Wag are doing the admin so you might think it independent but I’m still of the view wag still of course rule.

  17. bow

    July 23, 2015 at 11:30 am

    I’ve been in this industry for quite a few years, I’m not stupid and I’m not against this government although I’ll be glad if there is a new party in power next May.
    But I cannot get my head around what this board will do.
    Wag are in effect running it, they selected who can go on it, so their quangos are covered. They’ve put a civil servant on the board to spy and they’re doing the admin, so they are still in charge.
    Wag’s focus is exports. Never mind that our local markets are poor as are some festivals. It doesn’t matter that local places still don’t serve Welsh products or that these are clearly shown on menus. But forget that, let’s pay heavily to get our exports up.
    You’ve been banging on about these things since you started Welsh Country, but instead of welcoming a top quality magazine that promotes Wales and Welsh food and drink, helps producers by listening and talking to us, telling us what’s going on, you are bullied by this shower. This disgusts me, it so does. It’s cowardly, stupid, pointless and not at all helpful or productive.
    Why are they behaving like toddlers?

  18. Parrot

    July 23, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for your comments and support, but I do keep having to say the same things.
    I don’t know any more than you about what wag are doing, apart from exports are important.
    Wag did welcome Welsh Country magazine for two years, about 6 years ago but stopped due to ‘advertising budgets being cut’ shame their no PR & Marketing budget going spare. Anyway two years out of ten’s not bad!
    Our plan which was to support and promote Welsh food and drink and that is what we’ve done for everyone that is working with us and for our readers.
    I can’t say I’d disagree with you saying they are behaving like toddlers, it would be helpful to have conversations with them, but wag don’t like me asking questions at all.
    Wag do their own thing and they can do because they hold the purse strings.
    Thanks for supporting us at Welsh Country it is appreciated, but I cannot help, wish I could. As I say, wag rules the roost.
    Maybe you’ll get you wish next May, but the civil servants will remain…………………..

  19. Bow

    July 24, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I’ve been with you on bow for many years and I’m a regular reader on here. The job you do for us is top class.
    It’s interesting to get read on here your take on things and sorry I’m another that thinks a lot of this should be in the magazine. I think readers need to know what we are up against with wag food and it might make people think about who they vote for next May. I can get why you’ve not done this, but after the battering and bullying you’ve had from wag food I believe you need to seriously think again. You’re supportive to bow and all your advertisers, but that doesn’t include wag food. Wag don’t back you, so why not use the magazine to tell your readers what’s really happening in Welsh food?
    I’ve always been 100% behind you and Ian, but not with this. I don’t think wag food deserve your protection, so stop doing it. Be honest with your readers, they deserve that and might support us more if they know the political goings-on behind the food scene.
    Unfortunately civil servants will not change next May.

  20. Parrot

    July 24, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I’m being taken to task by more and more bow agreeing with you and not me!

  21. TRADER

    July 24, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I’ve only been with you about 3 years but you have a great reputation as does Ian for working hard for us. I’m sorry to add to last comment that’s been left, but I too think you should expose wag food using much from this site. You could print copies and copies with all you have on them here.
    If they wont support us and they’re certainly not supporting you, show them in print as they are, warts and all. There’s lots of warts for you to go for.

  22. Parrot

    July 24, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Pleased you have been with us 3yrs.
    You’re wrong though because Wag have no obligation to support us. Prodcuers thatt come with us get our support as do our advertisers becasue that’s what we promise to do.
    I can’t keep saying the same thing about support, or lack of it.

  23. bow

    July 27, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Good to see you and Ian twice in one week – Rwas and Lampeter.
    I’m gobsmacked and furious that the work you put in for Welsh food and drink is taken as such a negative by wag food.
    That makes me question the quality of the civil servants and agree with one of your many infamous sayings, common sense is not commonly available.
    I’m no expert on marketing and promotion, but neither are wag food and they should be. Their attitude to you is disgusting.
    Working with you would help us as maybe they’d tell you what was going on and when, it would help your readers, which must be interested in food as you have plenty of pages on it, which also helps us to sell more.

  24. Parrot

    July 27, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Lovely to catch up with so many of our bow advertisers. Welsh Country does have some of the best food and drink producers in Wales with us.

    I keep saying the same thing time and time again, there’s no point dicussing wag food. There’s no point slating them for whatever ideas they come up with because they are not listening and they don’t have to!
    Wag rule.
    Wag are in charge.
    As Wag have the budgets.
    Wag will do as they think best. If we don’t agree – tough luck, there’s nothing you or I can do to change anything, unless you think the latest talking shop will help……………………..

  25. sam

    July 28, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Your questions at the end of this piece made me giggle. Wag food know the bulk of small producers, let alone the micro ones, is a joke that isn’t funny. As for communicating with us that’s even more hysterical.
    What bugs me is that wag food can’t talk to you. THey have the nerve to bully even though you’re a journalist and an editor, who supports welsh food and drink. Yet hey’ll not answer your questions. That can only make sense to arrogant civil servants, so as producers we’ve no chance and so no confidence in them.
    The magazine is yours and Ian’s and you can decide what goes in it and what doesn’t.
    Like others, I think you should put wag food’s behaviour and poor management in print, as that’s how I see them and want you to do. You’re fed up of saying no to this, even though some producers are against you on this one.
    Pity we are stuck with this dept. After all this time, if you can’t change it, then we can’t. It’s no wonder we expect nothing from them, because that’s what wag food are happy giving us, nothing, no help, just more red tape, more hoops to jump through, then they make stupid decisions that help no-one.
    I do obviously exclude all the favoured companies who have brown noses and get wag food cash.

  26. Tiny

    July 28, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Wag food has never worked or bothered about micro and smaller producers.
    You’ve made a mission of highlighting their errors and problems and it is as clear as crystal that you giving your opinions to wag and wag food, not not only have been unwelcomed but you’ve been bullied by them for being constructive and backing welsh producers.
    They wont answer your questions, instead they think blocking you is fair and useful. I see them as idiots, that’s the politest word I can use. Only an idiot would find constructive help from you and Ian, guys that know this industry, sensible to ignore.
    If they were producers trying to earn a living, they’d have bitten your hand off to gain your help.
    My parents told me often that it takes big people to admit mistakes and civil servants are only little people, hence the problems we have.
    It’s my take that you’ll never get the little people to change, they are a lost cause.
    Stop bothering with them, they aren’t worth your time.

  27. YOGI

    July 29, 2015 at 10:55 am

    YABBER DABBER DO what great news!
    Wag have finally selected their favoured people to their talking shop.
    I’m really not sure how we could continue trading without this tick-box-board.
    Thanks in one way for giving us this latest news but think I as a micro prodcuer will see no help for me and others like me.
    Have wag food ever heard of from acorns oak trees grow?
    Good to catch up at Lampeter festival

  28. Bow

    July 29, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    So many people have taken the time to leave comments.
    Suppose wag will read them, pooh pooh them and carry on doing what they think best.
    Pity wag have no clue or apparent interest in what would be best for us.

  29. Bow

    July 31, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    We have a chance next May to get rid of some politicians but as for our civil servants we are stuck with them for good.
    We’re in a no-win situation and we have no choice but to put up with it.

  30. BOW

    August 3, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Instead of wag bullying you, they should grow up, behave like adults, then listen and learn about what you and Ian are saying. They should then give you a medal.
    That isn’t going to happen, but I’m taking the time to give my views and that’s what I think should happen.
    You, Ian and your team are the only ones in food that listen and talk to us. We are not scared of being open with you, but not many of us are brave enough to tackle wag. We’ve seen and heard what’s happened to you and the magazine through wag, just for being honest with them and I can’t take that risk.
    You’re brave and frank and neither of these traits is acceptable to wag.
    Honesty is not wag’s policy.If it was we’d not be in this mess.

  31. Parrot

    August 3, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Grateful for your support and for taking time to post a comment.
    Like you I can’t see wag and wag food having a re-think. So we must accept what they do or find other jobs!!
    Maybe the civil serivce??

  32. Cup Cake 2

    August 4, 2015 at 8:58 am

    To be a mico producer in Wales is being the lowest of the low whilst making a massive effort to build a business instead of going on the dole.
    Expecting help from wag food is folly, they couldn’t give st – – -.
    For me I’m just grateful I met you guys, you’ve been so supportive, over and above I’d expect from a magazine, newspapers usually take your money and run, but not you guys. You actaully listen to me and give me pointers and ideas, like which festivals and markets to try
    you’ve been fabulous. Thanks

  33. foodie 4

    August 4, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Without yours and Ian’s regular news and info. I’d know nothing about what wag food are doing.
    You’ve been telling them for years that’s one of their many problems, but listening is another because they haven’t done so and still they get paid.
    They seem to think it’s verging on treason to find fault with wag, but instead of sending you to The Tower, they bully and batter you hoping you’ll stop finding fault. What cowards they are, how the truth hurts them. If they’d any sense they’d listen and work with you, but bullies are too big-headed for that.
    Like you I’m regarded by wag as a direct stakeholder, but unlike you I’m not brave enough to criticise wag and tell them my truth, as I see it, working as a food producer.
    hope you get to Cardigan this Saturday.

  34. Parrot

    August 4, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Hope to be at Cardigan for a few hours, and ‘hope’ you’re too busy to chat to me……………
    Thanks for leaving your comments but let’s agree wag civil servantrs will not change but maybe the government might next May.

  35. bow

    August 12, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I’m in agreement with other comments left.
    Why is another talking shop needed when it doesn’t represent micro businesses?
    What is the point?
    This is proof, if further proof were needed, that this gov. and food dept. are totally out-of-touch with us.
    Wag do read this site but are too arrogant as most civil servants I have dealt with are. So they cannot understand the points we are raising.
    Different people are saying the same things on here, but wag food are as deaf to our pleas as the gov. are.
    We can try and get a different gov. next year but our civil servants we are stuck with for ever.
    That is arrogant.

  36. bow

    August 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    What a waste of time, another board wow…