Asda is stressing its support for the hard-hit Welsh lamb sector with the launch of a premium range that puts farmers on pack and stresses quality and traceability.

In the light of the closure of two major North Wales abattoirs, Cig Môn and Cig Arfon, Asda has stressed its commitment to the Angelsey-based Welsh Country Foods.

The operation is owned by Grampian Country Food Group and supplies the Extra Special lamb range through the Lamblink farming scheme.

The range is unapologetically premium and traditional, and includes three extra matured hand cuts - loin chops, chump steak and leg steaks.

Dr Chris Brown, Asda's agricultural development manager, said: "Lamb continues to be a major driver within Asda's meat category generating more than £1 million in sales each week. The UK sheep industry remains successful during these challenging times. There remains a strong and growing demand for British lamb within Asda stores nationwide.

"I appreciate how worrying it must be for farmers hearing of another processor closing down and we want to reassure the farming community of our full commitment to the farmers who supply us with lamb."

Welsh Country Foods site director Trevor Hanger said: "Farmers must be on tenterhooks with the news of abattoirs closing down. Trading conditions really are tough.

"But Welsh Country Foods is fighting fit. We are investing heavily in the business and carrying out extensive trial work that we hope will lay the foundations for a prosperous British sheep industry."

Since the creation of the Asda LambLink scheme in 2002, more than 4,500 British farmers have signed up. The scheme pays a premium for higher grades.

The cuts retail between £4 and £5 per pack.