12-01-2013 09:17 AM | News, Sheep, Supermarkets

FUW attacks Asda over lamb supplier switch



FUW attacks Asda over lamb supplier switch
The Farmers' Union of Wales has criticised supermarket chain Asda for dropping a Welsh lamb processing plant from its list of suppliers.

The union said the move would put hundreds of jobs at risk at the Welsh Country Foods plant in Gaerwen.

FUW president Emyr Jones wrote to Asda's chief executive Andy Clarke and Welsh government's deputy agriculture minister Alun Davies seeking urgent talks on the situation.

"It represents a severe blow for the local economy and 350 members of staff working at the plant" he said.


But Asda said it remained committed to sourcing lamb from Wales.

"This decision was not taken lightly, however we feel it is an opportune time to review our lamb sourcing to meet the changing needs of our customers. We have built a strong relationship with Welsh lamb farmers and we remain committed to sourcing lamb from the country" the retailer told ITV.

But critics of the move say the announcement has wide-ranging repercussions for the Welsh food and farming industry.

"Welsh Country Foods is the only major processing facility for Welsh lamb in North Wales, handling 640,000 lambs per annum, and any loss of processing will therefore be a blow to the local economy and the community in Anglesey" said Anglesey beef and sheep farmer Dafydd Roberts.

"Hopefully, discussions with Asda with lead to a change in their decision but if not then it will be imperative to attract new customers to the site. It is important that a negative impact on jobs and the local economy is minimised."

Jones called on Asda to reconsider its decision and seeks a meeting with Clarke to discuss the issue which he will also raise at a pre-planned meeting in Cardiff with Davies next Wednesday.

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