Last week, the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board (FDWIB), the industry body established to encourage and sustain the growth of the Welsh food and drink sector, shared its priority actions to help support sector recovery following the current impact of Covid-19.
The pandemic had a sudden and significant impact on nearly all businesses and supply chains across the food and drink industry in Wales, and it is recognised that there is a huge challenge ahead for individual businesses to adapt and survive as we emerge out of the first stage of the crisis. There may also be opportunities which businesses must be agile in embracing for the benefit of the industry.
The FDWIB Covid-19 Recovery Plan, created in partnership with Welsh Government, is an interim plan which outlines the key routes forward to help businesses during this unique time. It encompasses the challenges and opportunities faced by the industry, with a practical road map supporting businesses throughout the months ahead.
It includes real-world, tangible business advice on issues including encouraging and developing online sales, building resilience business models, risk management, added value to supply chains, affordable finance, industry accreditation and training and developing skills.
And while the Recovery Plan has been developed as a response to the pandemic, much of its practical content will be equally applicable for businesses operating in the sector as they meet the changes and challenges that the industry will inevitably experience as a result of the UK's exit from the European Union in six months’ time.
Speaking about the short-term plan for the coming months, Chairman of the FDWIB, Andy Richardson, said:
The coronavirus crisis has caught everyone by surprise when it emerged as a pandemic in early 2020. Sadly, the food and drink industry has not been immune to the effects of the crisis; but this aside, our primary thoughts go out to those who have lost their lives or those who have lost family, friends and colleagues at this time.
Whilst some Welsh food and drink businesses have flourished during the crisis, many more have and continue to be affected significantly. As a Board, our pledge to all Welsh food and drink businesses is to continue to fight for our industry and deliver a recovery plan that is needed for the sector right now.
In support of the recovery plan, the Minister for Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:
The food and drink industry in Wales has played a key role in keeping the nation fed during this time of unprecedented crisis, and I would like to express my thanks to all of those who have worked tirelessly to maintain supply chains.
We must now look towards the future, and the actions that have been announced today are designed to support the industry where disruption due to the pandemic has occurred.