The Welsh Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Energy and Rural Affairs – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has today (22 September) renewed her call to increase access to training events for Welsh farmers and supply chain workers, so as to improve the shelf-life of Welsh lamb.
In a letter of reply following the Shadow Minister's recent intervention, Lesley Griffiths MS stated:
Enhanced shelf-life requires actions at all stages of the supply chain: by farmers, auction markets, hauliers, processors and cold chain distributors. Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) have been gathering intelligence on industry practices and continue to work with the whole supply chain by publishing guides to good practice and holding training events for farmers and students.
However, a recent FOI request to HCC has now revealed that the number of courses available to Welsh farmers decreased from 50 training events in 2018 to 35 in 2019. Mrs Finch-Saunders has subsequently called for a clear target as to when the shelf-life of Welsh lamb will be improved.
Commenting on the issue, Janet said:
“Whilst I welcome a commitment from the Welsh Minister to extend the shelf-life of Welsh lamb, her department has clearly failed to set an explicit and guiding timetable which would instruct sector officials to offer more training events which are required to develop the necessary skills to compete with New Zealand on the global stage.
“Successfully achieving a long shelf life depends on having clean and hygienic practices throughout the supply chain, as well as good temperature control once the animal has been slaughtered. However, for this to occur, access to quality training must be maintained.
“Therefore, I am deeply concerned to find a fall in the number of courses being run by Hybu Cig Cymru, with a registered decrease from 50 training events in 2018 to 35 in 2019. This is a worrying trend that I urge the Welsh Government to reverse, if their commitment to extending shelf-life rings true.
“The Welsh Government must now set a clear and explicit target as to when the shelf-life of Welsh lamb will be improved. We cannot let this iconic Welsh product miss future export opportunities as the Conservative UK Government set about signing landmark trade deals.”
Notes for Editors:
- Please find a letter from Lesley Griffiths MS, attached.
- According to an FOI reply, HCC said it offered/reached: