Covid-19 has had a sudden and significant impact on nearly all businesses and supply chains within the food and drink sector, whatever their size. There is now a huge challenge for individual businesses’ survival. The pandemic’s impact threatens our sector’s success.
To support the sector, I have developed priority actions in partnership with the Food & Drink Wales Industry Board. I am pleased to publish them today.
These actions will be our joint short term focus and will target support for the sector over the coming months until next summer. For now the priority is survival, however, we must also help the sector move to recovery.
The Welsh Government and FDWIB have long term goals. In 2020 we complete ‘Towards Sustainable Growth’ which has been our action plan since 2014 and has taken forward a strategy set in 2010. I was pleased to announce at the start of this year that Towards Sustainable Growth had achieved its target for the food and farming priority sector of reaching £7 billion of sales by 2020 by achieving £7.473 billion. However, we have achieved much more than just financial growth. The sector has developed a higher profile, export growth, improved sustainability and stronger networks and clusters in our supply chains. In 2019, we consulted on widely welcomed proposals for a new strategy and we will return to that work in the coming months. The document I am publishing today will be a bridge between Towards Sustainable Growth and the new strategy. Although we face immediate challenges it is vital we keep firmly focussed on the longer term and rebuilding for the future.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.