In 2014, the Welsh Government published an action plan for food and drink, ‘Towards Sustainable Growth’. It set out a vision, a mission and a long term plan with actions to accomplish them. At its heart was a simple and bold target – to raise the sales value of the sector by 30% to £7 billion by 2020. I am delighted we have now more than achieved this, the latest data showing the food and farming priority sector has a value of £7.5 billion.
This is a remarkable achievement and a cause for celebration. Back in 2014, and in the early years of the plan, reaching this target appeared very challenging. Some were doubtful it could be done. However, we were bold and confident with the right support the sector could succeed. I commend the industry for this success, which represents the result of significant effort by many. I particularly thank the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board for its valuable partnership with the Welsh Government.
Wales has a growing reputation as a food nation. We produce a wide range of attractive, quality produce and we are recognised as a small country doing great things which embody our values.
The coming years will have their own challenges, particularly as we face uncertainty about the impact of Brexit, however, I feel the food and drink industry is in a strong position to face the future with confidence.