An international cluster study pilot for Welsh food and drink businesses will commence on 18 September as part of the Welsh Government’s strategy for the food and drink sector to develop and further harness our European partnerships. The pilot will see Welsh partners team up with like-minded businesses and organisations to investigate the feasibility of developing collaborations to drive the delivery of mutually beneficial projects. The programme is intended to support greater sector readiness and resilience for the industry in Wales, post-Brexit, through increased opportunities for support from wider partnership networks and expertise.
This pilot study programme plans to support efforts to develop and harness vital European partnerships for the Welsh food and drinks sector with Brittany, a key international region for Wales. The Welsh Government has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with Brittany so this project builds on our strong and existing relationship with the region.
Brittany has a number of leading-edge businesses developing sustainable solutions and there are some significant initiatives being undertaken in France showing their appetite for developing circular economy solutions for the Food and Drink industry. In particular, Brittany is a leading region in the seaweed and algae industry and developed the world’s first training centre for algae knowledge and research progression. Utilising the region’s expertise, the project topic is focussed on specific collaborative opportunities around various areas including the exploitation of algae for nutrition, health, packaging, decarbonisation, and removal of nitrogen, phosphate and pollutants as well as other potential uses as a source of animal feed.
Welsh participants are represented across the supply chain and include researchers, food producers, innovative companies, government representatives and cluster network leads. The Welsh Food and Drink Cluster network is actively supporting sector resilience and food security through its activities and members of the Nutri-Wales, Seafood and Drinks clusters are all actively involved in this study visit.
Due to the impact of Covid-19, plans to visit Brittany with a Welsh delegation have been postponed, but in conjunction with Valorial, the Brittany-based agri-food cluster a virtual study visit to support idea generation activities to progress these collaborations has been arranged.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I am very pleased to see than in spite of the disruption caused by Covid-19, Welsh food businesses are preparing to join with their counterparts in Brittany as we look to continue in developing our all-important European partnerships.
“While delegations, of course, are unable to travel at this time, it is good to note that work on developing these international relationships continues through virtual visits such as these, and I’m sure both sides will have much to learn from one another.
“The Welsh food and drink sector is known for its habits of innovation and resilience, and those are increasingly important characteristics as we look to recover from Covid-19, and continue these important relationships.”
For further information about Food and Drink Wales please visit www.gov.wales/foodanddrinkwales
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