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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 19:44 GMT
Tesco deal for Welsh-reared beef
Welsh beef
Consumers can ask for beef produced in Wales
More than 600 livestock farmers across Wales have landed a 30m deal to sell their products to the supermarket chain Tesco.

The deal, which will promote Welsh-reared beef as a recognisable brand, has been welcomed by farming unions.

And it is set to secure up to 800 jobs at a newly-opened meat processing factory in the south Wales Valleys.
Carwyn Jones
Carwyn Jones welcomes 'first step' of Welsh brand

Welsh Assembly Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones launched the Welsh beef deal at the Tesco superstore in Bridgend.

He said the initiative was a welcome first step in the task of building a recognisable brand image for Welsh-reared meat and meat products.

He said: "I've been saying for some time that we need to promote Welsh beef as a brand in itself.

"This is taking a step in that direction.

"Welsh lamb is probably further down the line in that respect.

"What we cannot do in Wales anymore is try to compete on price.

"We need to compete in the quality end of the market and to promote the product's strengths, so that people will be prepared to pay more for it.
Shoppers of Welsh beef
Tesco shoppers size up the Welsh beef cuts

"Supermarkets are realising that there's merit in labelling goods as from a local source."

The contract will see Tesco buy 5,200 tonnes of beef packaged for the shelves at its 49 stores in Wales.

It will encompass the full range of beef products including joints, mince and steak, with retail value of 42m.

The deal has been put together by the Welsh farmers co-operative, Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions, which has a membership of around 7,000 livestock farmers.

Just over 600 farmers in the co-op are contracted to supply the 30,000 cattle needed for the year-round Tesco promotion.

Tangible benefits

The animals will be processed at St Merryn Meat's newly constructed 40m plant at Merthyr Tydfil.

The 30-acre site, which has a capacity to handle up to 2,000 cattle per week, employs 800 people and is one of the largest employers in the area.

Alan Morris of the Farmers Union of Wales said the deal was an example of what can be achieved when supermarkets work in partnership with farmers.

He said: "I know we have had our ups and downs with the supermarkets in the past but when they co-operate it does show that farmers can have tangible benefits for their products in Wales."

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Sian Richards reports
"The deal gives Welsh farmers some assurances"
See also:

08 Nov 01 | Wales
Rural firms seek virus payouts
22 Oct 01 | Wales
Pig breeders denied export lift
31 Jul 01 | Wales
A Brecon farmer's struggle
18 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Farmers 'face winter hardship'
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