The Welsh government will give £22m to its food and drink industry to support preparation for post-Brexit.
The funding boost was announced during the annual international food and drink trade event Blas Cymru/Taste Wales in late March. Lesley Griffiths, the Welsh Labour minister for environment, energy, and rural affairs, said support has been given to help the industry “become even more resilient and respond to the challenges and opportunities Brexit brings”.
The investment will contribute towards new business growth opportunities and an increase in innovation, focusing on responding to challenges and opportunities of Brexit.
Griffiths said: “Our food and drink sector is globally renowned and a real Welsh success story. It is already close to meeting our ambitious 2020 target earlier than expected. However, we cannot let Brexit derail the sector’s success and we must take every opportunity to showcase all it has to offer globally.”
The funding will help the sector build on its success and strengthen its relisience against the challenges and opportunities Brexit brings, she added. “With Brexit fast approaching it is more important than ever for the sector to showcase what it has to offer and have the opportunity to reach new markets and strike international trade deals,” she said.
The food and drink sector’s 2020 target, outlined in the government’s Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020, was to grow by 30% to £7bn. By 2018, the food and farming sector was reported to be worth £6.8bn in 2018. Exports, valued at £539m, have increased by 32% since 2014, with an increase of £25m in 2018 to non-EU countries, said the government.
Wales has already committed to a £5m investment via the EU Transition Fund to help the farming, fishing and food sectors, and an additional £2.15m to support the red meat sector through the “Red Meat Benchmarking Initiative”, according to The National Assembly for Wales’ December 2018 Report on the Preparedness of the Food and Drink Sector in Wales.