THIS weekend’s Abergavenny Food Festival once again placed Gwent on the food map of Great Britain.

Tens of thousands of people attended and sampled fantastic sausages, cheeses, smoked fish and sauces from across the country.

And, while not every Abergavenny resident welcomes the food festival weekend, the buzz surrounding it has led to it being crowned the Glastonbury of food festivals.

Much of the produce on show was created right on our doorstep, with almost a third of the 225 stalls having a local connection.

This says a lot about the creativity and skill of Gwent’s food producers and their reputation is growing.

But good reputations don’t always pay the wages. For the food industry in Gwent to be a true success story for the future, the export market must be cracked.

The food festival’s knockon effect has already brought some world class restaurants to the area. Can its success also become a launch pad for a food driven economic agenda for Gwent?

The food and drinks industry already generates £6.5bn in sales revenue. If the market place were successfully expanded selling our top quality ingredients globally, where would it end?

Steel and coal used to be Gwent’s greatest exports, it’s not beyond imagination that food could be added to that list in the future.