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New project aims to help small businesses move up the food chain

11 January 2017

Small food businesses in rural parts of Wales are set to be given help to reach new markets thanks to an exciting project being led by Bridgend County Borough Council.

The council has been awarded £600,000 from the Welsh Government to oversee a new ‘Food Supply Chain’ project in partnership with 11 other local authorities.

The three-year initiative will focus on creating strong supply-chains so that small rural-based firms can work together to meet the demands of retail and tourism businesses for locally produced goods.

The project will be led by Bridgend County Borough Council in partnership with seven other Rural Development Plan Local Action Groups, which are: Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent, Cwm Taf (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf), Vale of Usk (Monmouthshire and Newport), Neath Port Talbot, Powys, Torfaen, and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Councillor Charles Smith, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “The majority of food and drink businesses in Wales are independent producers, with just eight per cent being part of a larger organisation.

“With this in mind, local supply chains are absolutely essential. Retailers and hospitality providers need to be confident that the demands of their customers for local goods can be satisfied.

“Consistent quality and supply is vital, and this can create a barrier for small producers who have limited capacity.

“To overcome this, the project aims to maximise economies of scale through collaboration, co-operatives and networks. By working together and creating strong clusters, this sector of the economy has huge potential to grow. Local supply chains can also drive down the carbon footprint of our food.

“The council’s ‘reach’ rural development team has been developing the proposals over the past two years and we are very grateful for the support we have received from our partners in other local authorities. We look forward to taking the lead on this exciting initiative.”

The ‘Food Supply Chain’ project will continue to seek opportunities to dovetail with the existing support available such as Cywain, Farming Connect, Social Firms Wales and others to avoid duplication of any funded activity.

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “I am pleased we have been able to provide £600,000 of funding to support small food businesses in rural parts of Wales. 

“Wales’ food and drink industry is thriving and we are already more than half way towards our target of achieving 30 per cent growth by 2020. I look forward to hearing about the future success of projects involved in this exciting initiative.”

The project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

For further information, please contact Rhiannon Hardiman, Rural Development Programme Manager at Bridgend County Borough Council by calling 01656 815080 or emailing Rhiannon.hardiman@bridgend.gov.uk

Last Updated: 11/01/2017
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