Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Guaranteed Welsh will help farmers

Last week, the Welsh Conservatives proposed introducing a new “Guaranteed Welsh” logo to promote Welsh produce and services. The scheme - similar to a system already operating in Ireland - would make it easier for consumers to support Welsh companies and safeguard jobs in Wales. I am proud to say that this new policy came from work I underook for the party to examine the rural economy, and I believe that the introduction of the new logo will be a 'powerful device' in promoting Welsh goods and services.

It would also safeguard Welsh jobs and promote Welsh quality as well as become an instantly recognisable symbol for consumers, who would know that when they buy a product or service featuring the Guaranteed Welsh logo, they are supporting Welsh companies and Welsh workers.

This follows Welsh Conservative plans to ensure new supermarkets enter into binding undertakings about the provision of local goods, pursuit of green policies, and working with local communities, ensuring that there is support for Welsh producers through the promotion of locally sourced food. The party is also calling for the launch of a Welsh Year of Food and Farming, working with schools to develop links with local farms to educate children and improve awareness of how food is produced. This could be a vital step in ensuring that the market for local produce is developed within Wales. Welsh farmers and welsh businesses have a reputation for quality and professionalism. In an increasingly competitive market it is vital we give them every chance to steal a march on their rivals. The Guaranteed Welsh symbol would quickly become a respected, recognisable, valuable marketing tool and a sign of quality.

Having worked in Dublin, I quickly noticed that there was a real effort by the Irish Government to ensure that consumers had the choice of backing local farmers and local businesses through their purchasing power. I believe that the time has come to do the same in Wales and to give consumers the real choice in supporting their local communities.

The Guaranteed Irish scheme has been a resounding success in promoting the best in Irish goods and services and in adopting such a scheme, I am confident that we can repeat that success in Wales by marketing the 'Made in Wales' brand as much as possible.

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