Alan Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
Today I am publishing for consultation my Action Plan for the Food and Drinks Industry for the next six years.
The purpose of this Plan is to drive sustainable growth and job creation in the food industry. The Plan will develop existing and new opportunities for Welsh food and drink businesses in domestic and export markets, as well as attracting foreign direct investment. Implementing the Plan will require joint leadership from Government and the industry in a new partnership or Federation, with representation from the whole of the food chain.
The profile and reputation of Welsh food and drink will be increased and strengthened through the new Food and Drink Wales identity and through developing more protected name products. Skills development in the workforce will be given greater priority through more focus and the coordination of training. Through the Plan the support and intervention measures available to food businesses will be reviewed and renewed where necessary, to ensure the right provision for both the largest food manufacturers and the smallest micro-businesses.
Innovation will continue to underpin all future development and intervention. Businesses will receive help to reduce their carbon footprint to produce meaningful green growth and the greening of this sector. We will work closely with Visit Wales to build our food culture which is a defining part of our tourism offer and to help us appreciate and value the place of food in Welsh Society and as a part of our national identity. Food safety will be paramount and a shared responsibility for Government and businesses. This Plan would be incomplete without addressing public health, and through the plan we must provide better knowledge so that people can make healthy food choices which must be readily available and affordable for everyone. Manufacturers must also take responsibility to formulate healthier food and drink products.
I will welcome widespread debate on my Action Plan for the Food and Drinks Industry 2014-2020. I will be publishing a comprehensive framework of events and activities which will create new opportunities to meet officials and provide comment which is essential to ensure that the final Plan, when published in the spring, is entirely appropriate in assisting food and drink businesses and in meeting the needs of consumers.
Finally this Plan is very different from previous strategies published by the Welsh Government. This is not a brochure which simply describes the wonderful food that we make and create in Wales. This Plan is working document that sets out the interventions that government will make to support the sector and the industry. It will bring together some existing actions and will provide coherence and consistency of support from the whole of the Welsh Government and our partners to provide support for the whole food chain. This Plan will set measureable targets and our datasets will be improved to ensure the accuracy of the measures. The Plan also contains and will be refined to provide greater transparency through clear timetables for the delivery of our commitments.
Food policy is cross cutting and can deliver green growth, resource efficiency, resilience and tackle poverty. Through close working across government and with the food industry we can set our sights high and reach beyond our expectations.