New technology is playing a vital role during the Covid crisis in promoting dialogue between Welsh sheep farmers and processing companies.

A series of virtual workshops held over Teams and Zoom have brought representatives of Wales’s largest processors together with producers, to discuss key factors such as trends in consumer demand, extending lamb shelf-life, carcase classification and reducing supply-chain waste to improve sustainability.

More than a dozen sessions, beginning in December and held throughout the early part of 2021, enabled people to exchange information across the industry at a time when Covid restrictions made the usual channels of communication difficult.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) industry development executive James Ruggeri provided presentations as part of the meetings, updating lamb industry partners on latest supply and demand patterns and on evolving consumer trends during the pandemic.

James said: “HCC regularly organises training workshops at abattoirs to help foster a greater understanding between farmers and processors, and ensure that what we’re producing in Wales meets the consumer’s wants.

“During the Covid period it’s vital that we keep that dialogue going, especially as we’ve seen ongoing shifts in consumer trends. We were really pleased with how many farmers took part.

“The workshops provided a platform for scores of farmers to be part of really interesting discussions, and will help the industry’s ongoing work on key issues such as reducing waste and increasing the shelf-life of lamb.”

HCC will be organising further sessions over video conferencing later in the spring after lambing time.