Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has today (Monday, December 19) awarded Coleg Sir Gar a three-year contract to work on eradicating sheep scab in Wales.

The Carmarthenshire-based college will aim to improve animal health and welfare standards by supporting industry to eradicate sheep scab from Wales.

“The All-Wales Sheep Scab Eradication Project will see Coleg Sir Gar working closely with the industry to control and ultimately eradicate Sheep Scab from Wales,” Minister Griffiths said.

“I have long said a collaborative approach is key to success [in eradicating sheep scab] and by working together we can reach our goals.”

The college said it will try many different strategies in the fight to eradicate sheep scab from the country through:

  • Significantly reducing sheep scab outbreaks on Welsh farms;
  • Accurate understanding of the incidence and prevalence of sheep scab in Wales, including the patterns of its occurrence and spread, to best target control measures;
  • Promoting accurate and timely diagnosis of the disease when it occurs, and treating appropriately in a successful, environmentally sustainable, and safe way;
  • Increasing awareness within the sheep industry in Wales of the importance of biosecurity and safe sourcing of sheep, to control sheep scab, within the context of other infectious diseases;
  • Significantly improving biosecurity within the sheep sector in Wales by designing, delivering, and measuring actions to stop the spread of sheep scab on and off farms, at markets and other points of sheep collection, through short and long-range transport and at common grazing..

John Griffiths from Coleg Sir Gar said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the funds to deliver the All-Wales Sheep Scab Eradication Project in partnership with the Royal Vet College.

“Evidence of sheep scab is frequently confirmed across Wales. It is hoped this consolidated industry-wide effort will achieve significant gains in eradicating this disease.

“Working with Dr. Neil Paton of the Royal Vet College we plan to roll out the project in 2023.”


The Welsh government has also recently launched a new initiative aimed at supporting Welsh producers by encouraging more local spending on food by the Welsh National Health Service (NHS), schools and local government.

The initiative, which was launched by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething on Saturday (December 17), will see the introduction of a new online food procurement resource ‘Buying Food Fit for the Future’.

According to the Welsh government, the Foundational Economy (goods and services) accounts for four in 10 jobs and £1 of every £3 that is spent in Wales.

Food is a crucial Foundational Economy sector which has faced, and is still facing, many challenges following Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently, the war in Ukraine and rising energy and fuel bills,” the government said.

“Public sector procurement has an important role in helping address these challenges and re-localising food chains, maximising self sufficiency and resilience.”

Public sector food procurement in Wales is worth approximately £84.7 million per annum according to the government, with local government and NHS Wales together accounting for more than 80% of that.

Public sector purchasing from Welsh companies account for 58% of overall spend, and food of Welsh origin accounts for 23%.

Gething said the new initiative will provide great scope to further increase Welsh food onto public plates in Wales to support local producers.

“Building the necessary capability and skills to embed Foundational Economy objectives across the Welsh public sector is crucial,” he said.

“By doing this, we can maximise opportunities for Welsh suppliers and build resilient, highly skilled supply chains. We can help grow these businesses, attract and retain new talent and recycle the Welsh pound in our communities.

“The online food procurement resource is part of the necessary toolset and support for public sector stakeholders and practitioners which will help to change mindsets to focus on value creation through our procurement activity, rather than cash savings so those wider benefits and wellbeing goals can be achieved.”

Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths, supported the initiative and said it is great news for Welsh food producers and for the local economy.

“In Wales we produce excellent food and drink, and I’m pleased to see this new initiaitve which will help the public sector buy local,” she said.

“It will provide a great opportunity for producers and encourage more of the public sector to buy produce which is closer to home.”