Wales’ Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones has launched the Welsh Assembly Government’s Strategic Action Plan for the Welsh Horticulture Industry, which sets out a vision of a sustainable future that benefits the people and environment of Wales.
The Action Plan, developed in partnership with the Agri-food Partnership’s Horticulture Strategy Group, will provide the industry in Wales with a central focus and will identify ways in which the horticulture supply chain can work together to meet the challenges the sector will face in the future.
Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones said:
“There are opportunities for farmers to diversify and for existing growers to develop their businesses further. The increasing consumer demand for local and regional food and drink provides an exciting challenge for the industry.
“This, along with the increasing awareness of healthy eating initiatives and public health provides an opportunity for Wales to provide as wide a variety of fruit and vegetables as possible.
“Horticulture delivers many benefits that help to service a range of environmental, social and economic needs. Home grown fruit and vegetables can help the population eat their target five portions of fruit and vegetables each day and efficient supply chains can also ensure that these fruit and vegetables have low food miles.”
The Action Plan will identify ways to support and encourage the safe and sustainable production of horticultural produce and sustainable use of natural resources based on sound scientific evidence via Farming Connect development programmes. The plan will also seek to evaluate the need for Assurance schemes to all parts of the supply chain and look to promote and assist uptake.
The Horticulture Sector in Wales recently secured significant funding from the Supply Chain Efficiencies (SCE) Scheme worth £1.64million and was approved through the Rural Development Plan for Wales.
This programme, delivered by Glyndwr University, will include the delivery of important market intelligence and development work in partnership with the Horticulture Strategy Group and the wider industry to identify current and future markets, understand supply chain issues and examine ways of building Welsh horticulture capacity.