Study to develop competitiveness of red meat sector

A new study on how to make Cornwall’s red meat sector more competitive is to get European funding through the Objective One funding programme.

The project, facilitated by South West Quality Meat, could also help cut the number of animals transported out of Cornwall for slaughtering, which will improve both animal welfare levels and the economic return for the county in the medium term.

The study is designed to develop a new strategy for the red meat sector in Cornwall and help producers improve their market position. It will also look at how best to target future funding for the sector and maximise its impact on the efficiency of red meat production, processing and marketing.

The eight-month study will cost just over £53,000 and will be paid for through a £20,000 grant from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund and £20,000 from the new agricultural ministry, DEFRA. The remaining money will come from various private sources.

Liz Bowles of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS) said: "The purpose of the study is to find ways to improve the position of the whole of the red meat sector in Cornwall - which has been highlighted as an area for investment in the strategy developed by Objective One's agricultural task force.

"The study will address the processing and marketing aspects of the red meat sector and the further development of regional brands to sell Cornish produce. This should lead to an overall increase in economic activity in the Cornish agricultural and processing industries."

She added: "The key behind this study is to identify the way to achieving long-term sustainability for the red meat sector in Cornwall. This will both increase the economic contribution of the industry and the potential for increases in the workforce."

Ms Bowles said the study would set out a programme of activity that strongly supports Objective One's promotion of environmental sustainability and use of information communications technology.

She commented: "Cornwall has been identified as having many unique characteristics, including a beautiful landscape - which gives it a positive image in the minds of consumers. Production from farms in a sympathetically managed traditional environment will be built on to develop a unique selling point for red meat from Cornwall.

"Electronic identification of animals and monitoring of all their movements, pre and post-slaughter, will allow complete traceability - thereby making it possible to increase consumer confidence in a quality brand."

The programme of activity is also likely to include the development of local collection and distribution networks, which will help reduce the amount of 'food miles' involved in meat production. At present, many animals are transported live out of Cornwall - often for considerable distances - which is unsatisfactory both for animal welfare and economic reasons.

The team conducting the study will draw on the expertise of the Meat & Livestock Commission and ADAS, as well seeking the views of organisations from across the industry. Once complete, the findings of the study will then be disseminated as widely as possible through the sector.

Ms Bowles added: "In order to complete the study effectively, all the consultants involved will work with all the key stakeholders in order to come up with a strategy for the future that can form a solid basis for the red meat sector in Cornwall."


Editors notes:

Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388