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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK


UK: Wales

Meat plant offers industry hope

The new plant will process thousands of animals each week

A new meat processing plant being built in south Wales has been welcomed by Welsh farmers who are suffering as a result of falling livestock prices.

Cornish company St Merryn is developing a factory at Merthyr Tydfil which will process thousands of cattle and sheep each week.

The Merthyr Tydfil plant will open next spring and will employ 120 workers, rising in time to 600.

On Monday, St Merryn sent out a small consignment of Welsh and English prime fillet steak to Europe for a celebration dinner to mark the lifting of the UK beef export ban.


[ image: St Merryn chose Merthyr Tydfil for its location]
St Merryn chose Merthyr Tydfil for its location
The Merthyr Tydfil factory will not produce meat for export, because it needs to be specially designated first. Its produce will be aimed at the domestic UK market.

However, the company said its presence in Wales should increase the amount of Welsh-produced meat exported to Europe via the Cornish plant, which has the necessary designation. The company has also pledged to work closely with Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions, which is pushing the case for Welsh meat in European markets.


BBC Wales's Peter Johnson speaks to John Dracup
Company spokesman John Dracup said Merthyr Tydfil offered a combination of advantages for St Merryn.

"It is the quantity and quality of livestock, the availability of a large population for employment and the excellent location in terms of road links for our business."

Mr Dracup said he was "very conscious" of the tremendous pressure the farming industry in Wales has found itself under, but added that farmers had been "very welcoming" towards his company.

'Working closely'

Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions managing director Don Thomas has welcomed the involvement of St Merryn as a contribution to reviving the industry.

"We are concentrating our efforts, working very closely with St Merryn," he said.

"We strongly believe that the existing excellent reputation that our Welsh Lamb brand already holds will open many doors for the Welsh Beef brand in the export market."



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