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Welsh food and drink companies forge new connections in Asia

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SOME of Wales’ best known food and drink companies have recently returned from Japan, where they have been promoting the best of what Wales has to offer at Asia’s largest food and drink exhibition.

Supported by the Welsh Government, seven food and drink producers from Wales attended Foodex Japan, under the Cymru/Wales banner, with many returning having made important new contacts, that will hopefully lead to lucrative orders.

Among the Welsh exhibitors were Calon Wen, Castle Dairies, Edwards – The Welsh Butcher, Glamorgan Brewing, Hybu Cig Cymru, Mydflower and Ty Nant.

Welsh food and drink exports to non-EU countries were worth £203m in 2022, a large increase from £176m in 2021. This is also a significant increase over the longer term, increasing by £58m since 2018. The value of Welsh food and drink exports to Asia and Oceania in 2022 was £47m.

Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, said “Foodex Japan is an important event for Welsh food and drink companies to showcase their high-quality products, build valuable contacts and expand their exports in a country which is known for its food culture.

“The Welsh Government offers a number of programmes to assist businesses attending trade events on the world stage, such as Foodex, and I would encourage anyone with an interest to get in touch with the team and find out how we can help.”

Foodex Japan is a four day event, held at Tokyo Big Sight, and hosted over 2,500 leading food and drink companies from more than 60 countries and regions. It is a hub for numerous business negotiations with top food and drink buyers from across Asia, as well as Japan. It provides a key opportunity to promote and build on the reputation of Welsh food and drink and connect with new customers across the region.

Conwy based multi-award-winning food brand Edwards – The Welsh Butcher was one of the companies on the Cymru/Wales stand and Jeremy Stoker felt it was a worthwhile visit, “Foodex was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our high-quality Welsh ‘meat’ products to an international audience. We were delighted to have ‘interest’ from attendees. We are excited to continue building our brand and expanding our reach in the Asian market.”

Another company hoping to pick up some orders is south west Wales based dry sparkling wines from traditionally foraged local ingredients producers Mydflower Ltd, as Michael Dew-Veal told The Herald: “Events such as Foodex offered us the chance to show off our products to an extensive audience but it’s also an opportunity to meet with buyers and gain insight into new markets. This kind of event allows us the chance to look at expanding our market further.”

Caerphilly based Castle Dairies attracted quite a bit of interest with their range of award-winning butters and spreadable butters, as David Cooknell said: “We were thrilled to attend Foodex and showcase our products to the Asian market. The event was a great success as we were able to connect with many potential customers. It is now the case of following up on that interest and turning it into sales.”

Foodex was held at Tokyo Big Sight on 5-8 March with 7 Welsh businesses in attendance being showcased on the Cymru/Wales stand.

For more information on how the Welsh Government can assist your business with reaching new markets through trade event visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/foodanddrink/growing-your-business/trade-events

For more information on how the Welsh Government can assist your business with exporting please visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/export/

Business

West Wales firm fined £75,000 after man killed by escaped cow

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A WEST WALES company has been fined £75,000 following the death of a 75-year-old man, Huw Evans, who was killed by a cow that had escaped from a livestock market. The incident occurred on November 19, 2022, at Whitland Livestock Market in Carmarthenshire, operated by J.J. Morris Limited.

Father-of-two Mr Evans was crossing the junction at North Road and West Street in Whitland when the cow, which was being auctioned, escaped from the market pen. The animal attacked Mr Evans, knocking him down and trampling him. He suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, where he succumbed to his injuries six days later.

A worker from J.J. Morris Limited was also injured during an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the cow. The cow eventually made its way towards Whitland Rugby Club and a railway line before being subdued and put down by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident and found that J.J. Morris Limited had failed to implement essential physical control measures to prevent cattle from escaping. The HSE concluded that the company’s risk assessment was inadequate, referencing control measures that were not in place at the market.

J.J. Morris Limited, based in Haverfordwest, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £5,047.55 in costs by Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 20.

In court, Mr Evans’ son, Dafydd, expressed his grief, saying: “Dad was my best friend, and I miss him terribly. He was taken from us too soon. Losing dad has had a tremendous effect on both myself and my brother. Because of this incident, dad’s grandsons will never fully know him personally, and he will not see them grow up.”

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Rhys Hughes remarked, “This tragic incident was foreseeable and preventable. The risk posed by cattle escaping from the livestock mart should have been identified, and effective control measures implemented. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance, which is readily accessible and outlines the requirements to safely manage cattle.”

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Tata workers call first strikes in 40 years to stop steel destruction

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HISTORIC strikes in Port Talbot as Labour vows emergency talks with Tata after general election

Around 1,500 Tata workers based in Port Talbot and Llanwern will begin all-out indefinite strike action over the company’s plans to cut 2,800 jobs and close its blast furnaces.

The strike action, which begins on 8 July, will severely impact Tata’s UK operations. It is the first time in over 40 years that steel workers in the UK have taken strike action.

The escalation in industrial action comes after the workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, began working to rule and an overtime ban on Tuesday (June 17).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata’s workers are not just fighting for their jobs – they are fighting for the future of their communities and the future of steel in Wales.

“Our members will not standby while this immensely wealthy conglomerate tries to throw Port Talbot and Llanwern on the scrapheap so it can boost its operations abroad. They know South Wales is ideally placed to take advantage of the coming boom in green steel – if the right choices are made.

“The strikes will go on until Tata halts its disastrous plans. Unite is backing Tata’s workers to the hilt in their historic battle to save the Welsh steel industry and give it the bright future it deserves.”

Labour has called for Tata to halt its plans and wait until after the general election to engage in talks with the government, saying there is a ‘better deal to do’. Labour has pledged £3 billion for UK steel if elected next month, a commitment secured by Unite. Labour has also made emergency talks with Tata a priority if it wins the election.

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Amendments submitted for holiday chalets scheme at trout fishery

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Amendments to a scheme granted by Pembrokeshire councillors last year after being repeatedly recommended for refusal have been submitted to county planners.

Last summer, Pembrokeshire councillors backed plans for holiday chalets at a trout fishery, despite them being recommended for refusal on multiple occasions.

Plans to provide nine accommodation cabins and ancillary works at a former fishery business at Millbrook, Manorwen, Fishguard, were backed at two meetings of Pembrokeshire County Council planning committee, despite them being recommended for refusal.

The application was backed for a second time at the committee’s May meeting, after a ‘minded to approve’ decision at the previous meeting.

The decision, a departure from the adopted Local Development Plan, meant the application would need to be referred to full council for a final decision.

Officers had repeatedly recommended Messrs L & C Williams’ application  – diversification of an existing agricultural holding and trout fishery business – be refused on the grounds it would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the character and appearance of the countryside.

The application was then considered at the July 2023 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, with a recommendation that the council did not endorse the resolution of the planning committee on the grounds it went against Development Plan policies which directed that planning permission should not be granted.

The application was conditionally approved by 48 votes to eight, with one abstention.

The applicants have now submitted amendments to the granted scheme, asking for revisions to the plans to include a lower carbon footprint through air-source heat exchangers for both heating and hot water and the use of solar panels.

It also includes the need for addition excavations needed and hopes to make it more disability-friendly.

The amendments will be considered at a later date.

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