Thanks to some of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers for keeping me in the loop on yet another food survey. Apparently the Welsh Government Food Policy Unit has sent out a letter asking primary producers to participate in a telephone survey. The survey is being undertaken by Brookdale Consulting. Just to give you an idea here is part of their letter.
Research into levels of primary produce processed in Wales
In 2010 the Welsh Government undertook a survey to determine the levels of primary produce processed in Wales.
Welsh Government now wishes to update the 2010 baseline survey. The results will be used to tailor Welsh Government support for the food and drink sector such that the maximum value is added to the Welsh economy.
The previous survey highlighted that most food and drink processors try to source Welsh produce whenever possible but that availability can be a problem.
Quality was the most important factor for food processors followed by price, food origin, branding and distribution. Challenges facing processors included regulation, competition and shortage of raw material. Processors were split in their views on product origin with half seeing it as vital and half as of secondary importance.
We are keen to update our understanding of the issues facing food and drink processors around sourcing raw material, importance of product origin, levels of processing activity in Wales and end markets for products.
As far as I’m aware the food policy unit is part of Food, Fisheries and Market Development Division, generally known as the food dept and the last time I can remember the Food Policy Unit being mentioned was: Food for Wales, Food from Wales 2010:2020 – A Food Strategy for Wales. At the time I was quite excited about this, except that planning 10 years ahead are only pie-in-the-sky. In reality can you seriously plan five years ahead and make any sense? Anyway the report was dreadfully dull, not really saying anything. The consultation process was once more a wag food box-ticking exercise only. Those of us that participated and dared to comment, and there was a considerable number of us, I wasn’t Billy-No-Mates there, but we were dutifully squashed, which is par for wag’s course. Maybe with recent staff changes in FFMDD this may not now be the case, but I’ve yet to met anyone whose confident about that.
The Miller Research Evaluation of the Fork2Fork campaign was also supposedly for primary producers, via farmers markets, farm shops and box schemes. I’m sure this evaluation was the Miller report had to be done to tick European/Government boxes that this project was government money ‘well spent’. Yes it will be more than interesting to read the report when it emerges and see the overlap and the difference in evaluation, but ……………….
One thing I am certain of though is that none of us knows how much this latest survey is costing and whether it will achieve value-for-money. Yes ok I can hear you chuckling on that one!! For the moment we must try and believe what we are told, that they wish to understand the issues facing food and drink processors around sourcing raw material, importance of product origin, levels of processing activity in Wales and end markets for products. However the proof of the pudding is………………………