‘Made in Wales’ brand needed following ‘shoddily struck’ post-Brexit trade deals, MS warns
A Made in Wales brand is now needed so that Welsh people can identify what produce has been made here and what is in shops because of “shoddily struck Tory deals,” according to a Senedd Member.
Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for agriculture, blasted the Australian Trade Deal as “environmentally illiterate” as most of Wales’ imported beef came from Ireland, just 50 miles away, whereas meat will now have to travel 10,000 miles.
Speaking at the beginning of the virtual Royal Welsh, he said there says there is a “real risk” that an influx of cheaper Australian beef and lamb into Welsh markets would undercut domestic produce.
“That’s why I am calling for a ‘Made in Wales’ official brand to help Welsh people identify the produce that has been made here,” he wrote in the Sunday Times.
“Rather than allow shoddily struck Tory deals to inundate our shops and supermarkets with cheap, low-quality produce, we can sell our best food and drink to the world to the benefit, rather than the detriment, of our farmers.
“With summer upon us, rural communities up and down the country would ordinarily be preparing for weeks of shows and fairs, but events of recent months and years has left this period feeling ever more like a harsh winter.
“It is clear that the rural way of life and those earning a living from the land face threats from all directions – be that from the pandemic, Brexit, climate change or the uncertainty caused by the imminent Welsh Labour Government Agriculture Bill.
“I firmly believe that Wales’ agricultural sector holds huge potential. Producing some of the highest quality food and drink in the world, Plaid Cymru has long been an advocate of incentivising businesses to source locally, shortening the supply chain and creating jobs by boosting procurement levels.”
An “agreement in principle” between Australia and the UK was published on 17 June, although a final signed agreement is still to be reached.
Last week, Farmers’ Union of Wales head of policy Nick Fenwick warned that the impact of the trade deal on Welsh Agriculture would be “pretty devastating”.
Appearing before Westminster’s Welsh Affairs Committee on Thursday, he warned that the cheaper production methods used in Australian farming would affect the prices that Welsh farmers would be able to charge for their produce.
“There are lots of people who buy on price for very good reasons. They don’t have much money in their pockets,” he said.
“On average lamb prices in the last 20 years have been about a pound a kilo lower in Australia than they have been here and I think it’s about 60 pence for beef.
“Clearly, if those imports pull our prices down, which they inevitably would, you are talking about losing vast amounts of money on every animal in an industry where very often you’re losing money on every animal anyway.”