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Food for thought in 10-year production strategy; farm forum.

Byline: ELIN JONES

AS OUR thoughts turn to Christmas, we'll no doubt be thinking about the food and drink that will need to be bought to put on our tables over the festive period.

But how many of us will be thinking this year about the provenance of our food and the impact its production has had on the environment? On Friday I will be at the Cwmcerrig Farm Shop and Grill in Gorslas, Llanelli, Gold Award winners in the True Taste Awards for retailer of the year - direct sales, in order to launch a food strategy for Wales for the next 10 years - Food for Wales, Food from Wales 2010-2020.

Following extensive consultation and agreement with industry and other stakeholders, the strategy takes a much broader food system approach, linking to cross-cutting issues such as climate change, health and sustainability.

It sets a radical direction for industry and government and faces up to the challenge of ensuring that people have access to the affordable and healthy food they need while ensuring that it does not impact adversely on the natural environment. Reconnecting with food and how it's produced is a fundamental message that reaches out to all those engaged in the future of food supply in Wales.

Government alone cannot make this strategy a success. Wales already has an enviable record of partnership working in the food and drink sector, and it is my firm belief that through continued co-operation the industry has a bright future and the capacity to achieve fundamental changes that will secure improvements in the industry, as well as safeguarding the sustainable production of food for the people of Wales today, and for generations to come.

I hope all those who contributed to the development of the strategy will continue to be involved as we work on detailed implementation plans setting out how we make our vision a reality.

Although we're still in early December, I'll take this opportunity to wish you a happy, restful Christmas - full of Welsh produce of course. Elin Jones is Rural Affairs Minister in the Assembly Government
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 7, 2010
Words:347
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