Jonathan Edwards MP and Simon Thomas AM have today called for a concerted rural strategy to ensure the continued health of the Welsh agricultural sector.
The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution has reported a growing number of Welsh working farming families requiring financial support to make ends meet, as the Farmers’ Union Wales highlighting the worsening plight of dairy farmers in Wales.
Insecurity within the Welsh farming sector continues, with the future of Welsh agricultural exports to the European Single Market, worth £200 million a year to Welsh farming, uncertain, alongside political uncertainty from both Labour and Conservative politicians over the future of agriculture in the post-Brexit climate.
Reacting to The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institutions’ findings, Jonathan Edwards said:
“Welsh agriculture is facing an uphill challenge. The situation is simply not good, and those that ignore the growing sense of crisis in Welsh agriculture do so at the peril of the Welsh economy.
“The findings of The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution is just further evidence that in the post-Brexit climate, a clear and concerted strategy is required to steer Welsh agriculture on a secure and prosperous path.
“The noises from the Westminster parties are not reassuring, with Labour viewing Welsh agriculture as a target for cuts following Brexit and the Conservative party seeing Welsh agriculture through an unworkable one-size-fits all viewpoint. Welsh agriculture is fundamentally different to that of England, and needs financial support to advance Welsh agriculture’s efficiency and capacity.
“Plaid Cymru recognises the Welsh family farm as a core component of not only our economy, but also of our environment and nation. A clear, decisive approach by the Welsh Government is needed to promoting Welsh agriculture, securing funding mechanisms where needed and opening new trade opportunities for Welsh farmers to market their goods.”
Shadow Cabinet member for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas, who launched a consultation on new agricultural policy at Sioe Môn, added:
“A Plaid Cymru Welsh Government could adopt a broader economic approach to supporting rural Wales by including funding for broadband infrastructure and a support mechanism for farmers that recognises the value they bring to maintaining the environment and landscape we value.
“The Party of Wales is prepared to fight for farmers and the rural economy, let’s see if those who argued for exiting the EU deliver on their promises.
“I urge people to make their views known on the principles that could underpin a wholly Welsh agriculture and rural environments support system.”