NEWPORT billionaire Sir Terry Mathews is to open an organic farming business in the heart of Gwent.
Though Sir Terry made his money through an electronics empire, he is turning 100 acres of Usk Valley land into an organic farm producing a mixture of livestock and vegetables.
He hopes the valley will become a centre for excellence in organic farming, and the goods will be used to supply his own Celtic Manor Resort.
The luxury resort spends £10m a year on food and the Canadian-based entrepreneur said he wants as much of it as possible to be both locally grown and organic. The food will be marketed under the Usk Produce brand and he also has plans a tourism spin-off.
Simon Gibson, chief executive of Sir Terry's company Wesley Clover Corporation said: "Generally the idea is that we start of supplying the hotel with as much organic and locally grown food as possible. We aim to source as much as we can from the local area.
“I think what has held the organic industry back is that while farmers are generally quite keen, they are never quite sure of the stability of demand. What we want to create in the long term then is not only a cooperative of local organic and freedom food producers, but a cooperative of purchasers, like us, who want to buy locally sourced food.
“Last Christmas we ordered 3,000 turkeys for Christmas. We can offer a steady supply and demand.
“I think this will be good for the region, and good for Newport. We should be buying more local food from local markets, and there’s huge potential in Newport. I do not know of any wholesale markets in the UK. There is so much fantastic food in this area, we just need to get organised.”