Mid Wales

David Cameron launches 'buy local' scheme at Royal Welsh

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Media captionAs well as being questioned on farming, David Cameron said the M4 relief road was "absolutely necessary"

Prime Minister David Cameron is at the Royal Welsh Show in Powys to launch a scheme to get public sector firms buying local produce.

Members of his reshuffled cabinet including Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb and UK environment minister Elizabeth Truss are also at the showground.

Mr Cameron's visit comes as farmers held a protest urging Tesco to promote Welsh lamb instead of New Zealand lamb.

Tesco said it was committed to building on its links with British farmers.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the event in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, which showcases the best of Welsh livestock, food and drink and includes forestry, countryside sports and horticulture.

Speaking on the first day of the show, David Cameron supported a £17.8m fund set up to foster innovative agricultural techniques, which includes aims to improve the taste of lamb while reducing waste.

It also plans to get public sector companies using local suppliers in a bid to to divert hundreds of millions of pounds from foreign suppliers to UK-based providers.

Image caption David Cameron also met members of the Royal Air Force Reserves

About 50 National Farming Union members gathered outside Tesco's Royal Welsh stand asking the supermarket to back Welsh farmers.

A spokesperson for the supermarket said: "We sell more British lamb than any other retailer, and we are proud to sell and promote British lamb to our millions of customers right across the UK.

"We know it is a great product and we want to ensure that we sell it in large volumes when it is at the peak of its season."

Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales - launched two projects at the show aimed at helping farmers get the most out of their business.

The first will see a number of farms selected for a trial to achieve improved levels of health and fertility, coupled with reduced costs.

The second will give farmers further analysis and forecasting advice on local, national and global supply conditions and demands.

'Vibrant industry'

Image caption NFU members met outside Tesco's Royal Welsh stand urging it to promote Welsh lamb

First Minister Carwyn Jones opened the nominations for this year's St David Awards at the event on Monday.

He was joined by some of last year's winners including lollipop lady Karin Williams who tried to protect a group of children from being hit by a car outside Rhws Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The awards were set up to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of people in all walks of life who benefit Wales.

Meanwhile newly-appointed deputy minister for agriculture and fisheries Rebecca Evans has met farming representatives to discuss the new rural development fund at her first event since being appointed.

She was given the role after the former environment minister Alun Davies was sacked after asking civil servants for private information on opposition AMs.

Business minister Edwina Hart and culture minister John Griffiths have also taken on some of his former responsibilities.

She said the Royal Welsh was vital to the rural economy and demonstrated how much farming contributed to Wales.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales Ms Evans defended the decision of the three ministers now covering the agricultural portfolio not to attend a scrutiny committee at this year's show.

She said the other ministers had prior engagements and the meeting had been rescheduled for September.

Image caption Thousands of people are expected to attend this year's Royal Welsh Show

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