Public sector food procurement practices under the spotlight

THE FUW has welcomed calls from the Welsh Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Energy and Rural Affairs ‐ Janet Finch‐Saunders MS ‐ for a review into public sector procurement practices.

Other political parties, such as Plaid Cymru also have a long‐ standing commitment to addressing the crisis in the food industry in Wales, which they say starts with a local procurement policy and Welsh Labour AM Jenny Rathbone, has also previously questioned the Government on what progress it has made in reshaping public procurement to enable more fresh food for schools, hospitals and nursing homes to be procured locally.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We have long called for changes to be made to public sector procurement policies in Wales and discussed the issue only a few weeks ago with a panel of experts in our food supply chain seminar. It is good to see that cross‐party support for this is growing.

“We believe that our schools, hospitals, armed forces and all other public services deserve access to the nutritious, quality food grown here in Wales and farmers deserve recognition for what they produce.

“When it comes to procurement policies it’s essential that price doesn’t get placed above all other factors when it comes to sourcing that food.”

Mr Roberts said food procurement policies must be introduced which protect domestic food security, preserve the food supply chain and ensure the longer term viability of our food producers and their businesses.

“We know that our farmers take great pride in producing sustainable food for us all to enjoy but they need our support to keep doing that ‐ from a procurement point of view, a consumer point of view and a policy maker point of view.

“During the covid‐1 9 pandemic our farmers filled a gap when supermarket shelves were empty. Not only did they continue producing sustainable food, they made buying local easy.

“We think one of the biggest lessons to take away from this is that localism and the resilience of our local communities is key in moving forward and public procurement has a key role to play in that.”

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