Welsh meat pays big dividends following investment

AN investment of just over £1 million has led to benefits worth more than £2.3 million in the Welsh red meat industry, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales announced today (Monday, March 19).

What’s more, if further funds can be found to continue the work, the payback to the red meat sector and therefore the wider Welsh economy could even be as high as £23 million, according to an independent report.

The figures have been released by HCC following a series of economic-based activities within the industry over the last three years using resources provided by the Rural Development Fund for Wales.

“The independent assessment of the work carried out under this scheme is excellent news,” says HCC’s chief executive, Gwyn Howells.

“It shows that when public money is targeted effectively in areas where there is a proven need for investment, it results in an immediate benefit to the industry and represents excellent value for money for the taxpayer.”

According to Alun Davies, the Welsh Government’s Agriculture Minister, the report showed how the Rural Development Plan was successfully delivering for Wales and providing a vital boost to the Welsh economy.

“RDP is a joint venture between the Welsh Government and the EU, and the purpose of it is to invest in, and maximise the potential of the countryside and rural areas,” he said.

The report into HCC’s three-year Economic, Market Intelligence and Benchmarking Project concluded that the direct return for RDP investment was 2.2 to 1.

Wider potential impacts could reach as high as £23 million, if further investment was injected into the project, according to report authors Brookdale Consulting Limited.

According to the report, there are a number of areas where future investment could deliver further significant benefits to the industry and the wider economy.

“For example, maintaining and expanding market price transparency through innovative methods such as using the web and text messages, where the RDP has already delivered additional benefits of over £500,000 per year,” says the report.

Taking forward recommendations from the RDP-funded Parasitology Action Plan would help cut the cost of parasites to the industry which currently stands at £22 million per annum.

Building on a lamb losses project could be worth £4.5 million per annum in Wales.

Extending Johne’s Disease testing, launched under the RDP project, to achieve disease-free status for Wales could be worth up to £1.6 million per year.

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