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‘Farming sector to meet new challenges’

Elin Jones: Visiting Hybu Cig Cymru

CEREDIGION’S local Plaid Cymru AM Elin Jones has visited Aberystwyth-based agency Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) to discuss their work to promote local produce and how the red meat industry will be affected by Brexit.

HCC is the levy body responsible for the marketing and development of lamb, beef and pork from Wales, and employs 25 people at its headquarters on the Glanyrafon industrial estate.

Agricultural produce is worth £1.4 billion to Wales each year, with red meat accounting for almost half the total. Beef and sheep farming is a cornerstone of Ceredigion’s economy, with many people also employed in meat processing. With a third of Welsh Lamb currently exported to the EU, future trade arrangements following Brexit are a major concern for farmers and processors.

“I was pleased to visit HCC in Glanyrafon, to ask what their plans are to meet the challenges ahead for Welsh sheep and beef farming,” said Ceredigion’s local AM Elin Jones.

“It’s important that our industry is ready to meet new challenges. HCC’s role in promoting our produce domestically, in European countries and opening new markets further afield will be crucial.

“Whichever way people voted in the EU referendum, it’s vital that we do everything we can to make the transition as smooth as possible, and secure a sustainable future for farming and the whole food sector,” she added.

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HCC Chief Executive Gwyn Howells said; “As the Assembly’s Presiding Officer as well as our local AM, Elin has valuable insight into how the process of leaving the EU is proceeding in practice, and what the effect on rural communities may be. We had a very constructive discussion about some of the key issues that need to be addressed over the coming years – unfettered access to our valuable export markets in Europe, and the continuation of the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) designation that Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef enjoy.”