Yesterday’s Beef Summit, held in London, has identified the challenges that face a sustainable beef industry, but now action is needed to make it happen, according to NFU Cymru’s President, Stephen James.The NFU’s calls for a voluntary code of practice concentrating on notice periods and transparency of terms and conditions were recognised during the Summit. Speaking after the meeting, NFU Cymru President Stephen James said the details of this code of practice now needed to be clarified between the trade and the NFU in a matter of weeks before reporting back to the Westminster Government Minister.“This code is a positive step forward and something that we’ve been calling for. We will also hold further discussions with the trade on the transparency of abattoir charges because our members regularly contact us on this issue,” said Mr James.Other challenges laid down included extending the use of the voluntary code on clear country of origin labelling for processed food to the food service sector, backing up the good work already being done by Assured Food Standards and their ‘made with’ Red Tractor logo in supermarkets.Lyndon Edwards, NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman added, “We must increase demand for our product and we’ve said to retailers that they need to actively promote PGI status Welsh Beef as well as Red Tractor-assured British beef.“I’m pleased that at the Summit, retailers acknowledged the importance of clearly, unambiguously and accurately promoting British beef.”Mr James concluded, “We are now entering a critical phase in the development of the next Wales Rural Development Plan (RDP). We are aware that both Ireland and Scotland have already agreed to provide significant resource into RDP programmes to support sustainable red meat production. It is vital that the Welsh Government takes forward similar initiatives to enhance competitiveness and increase profitability on livestock farms in Wales.” Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock board chairman, added “We must increase demand for our product and we’ve said to retailers that they need to actively promote Red Tractor-assured British beef. I’m pleased that at the Summit, retailers acknowledged the importance of clearly, unambiguously and accurately promoting British beef.”
Defra gave the NFU an assurance that it is actively investigating export markets with the levy bodies, with potential prospects in Japan and the longer term China. The use of PGI status will be important here in promoting British beef abroad.
Defra also gave an undertaking that it would look at the opportunities, with EBLEX, to invest Rural Development money in improving competitiveness and productivity on farm. The NFU welcome that commitment and look forward to working with Defra to make this and all of the other commitments happen.