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Ten year food challenge for Wales
Following extensive consultation and agreement with industry and stakeholders, the strategy takes a much broader food system approach, linking to cross cutting issues such as climate change, health and sustainability. This ambitious new agenda gives both industry and citizens the best possible future to meet the challenges ahead.
The Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones said:
“The strategy represents an ambitious step change by incorporating a greater acknowledgement of the wider food system. It sets a radical direction for industry and Government, and faces up to the challenge of ensuring that people have access to the affordable and healthy food they need whilst ensuring that it does not impact adversely on the natural environment.
“Expectations of the food system have in the past been largely addressed by focusing on the provision of bulk quality foods at a reasonable price to as many people as possible. Over recent years, the environmental, health and social impacts of our food system have become increasingly evident and concerns about the security of our food supply have grown.
“People’s thoughts turn to food at Christmas time perhaps, more than any other time of the year. Consumers are increasingly demanding more socially and environmentally responsible food products, with provenance clearly displayed, as well as a greater value and variety. This Strategy aims to promote the distinctiveness of Wales in terms of its food production base, natural assets, cultural heritage, consumer demands and social priorities.”
During the launch, the Minister called on the industry to work in partnership with Government to secure a prosperous future for the Welsh Food and Drink sector.
“Government alone cannot make this strategy a success; there is already an enviable record of partnership working in the Welsh food and drink sector, it is my firm belief that through continued cooperation the industry has a bright future. Today’s launch is the beginning of this challenge, a delivery plan will now be developed in partnership with the industry to drive forward the changes needed.”
Dr Haydn E. Edwards, chair of the Welsh Assembly Government's Food and Drink Advisory Partnership said:
“The Strategy is designed to raise the profile of food issues for all of us. I trust that the Strategy will enhance the debate on our priority areas and place more emphasis on the theme of building connections. I am confident that we will make the most of the many strengths we have to ensure an increasingly viable and sustainable food industry for the long term future. Whilst we can celebrate the progress made so far, in a changing world we need to be in a position to face new challenges. This Strategy prepares us for that future.”
True Taste Champion, Simon Wright, said:
“The strategy is an ambitious document and is all the better for it. I welcome the breadth of its vision and the fact that it doesn’t shirk from acknowledging the enormous pressures that face Wales and the world as we look at how we will feed ourselves in the decades to come - issues such as health, sustainability, affordability and the continued vibrancy of our food industry are all interrelated and the strength of this document is that it strongly acknowledges that.
“I’m confident in Wales that we have the talent and determination to meet these tests in a way that can be an example to others. This strategy should be seen as the starting gun in the race to meet the challenges of the future and our success will now depend upon the capacity of the public and private sectors, working in partnership, to respond swiftly and above all with sufficient imagination.”
A delivery plan for the strategy will be developed early in 2011.