Simon Thomas, Mid and West Wales AM and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, pushes for protection for Welsh food as the UK leaves the EU.
The farming industry and the food and drink industry are essential in Wales in terms of our economy and our lifestyle and for our health, wellbeing and population.
To me, agriculture and the chance it gives us to ensure sustainable development of our rural areas is a cornerstone when building the Welsh nation.
Agriculture employs nearly 50,000 people in Wales. The food and drink industry is even wider, employing a quarter of a million people in Wales, with a turnover of £17 billion, as well as a quarter of a billion pounds in exports. Without a doubt, Wales would not be the nation it is today without it.
The future of agriculture in Wales in essential to the future of my country. A good reputation for food from Wales overseas is essential for our exports.
Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs) on lamb and beef from Wales have increased exports by 25 per cent, and over half of our customers in Italy, Germany, Sweden and Denmark say they would prefer to buy meat with a PGI status.
But with the clock ticking on Brexit, the Labour-led Welsh Government cannnot promise to keep the designated name status on Welsh produce.
Plaid Cymru has been trying to keep the protected food name status for Welsh food in the Continuity Bill in the National Assembly.
We will keep campaigning for the right to keep marketing food from Wales under the Red Dragon, not the Union Jack.
Last month Assembly Members in Wales passed into law a Continuity Bill. The Welsh legislation ensures all powers in devolved areas like agriculture will remain devolved after Brexit.
As the Assembly Member who represents the most part of rural Wales, I have tried to support farmers and rural communities.
Approximately 5 per cent of the UK’s population live in Wales, of course, but we receive 10 per cent of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) money.
It is frightening that the Westminster Government have not promised we will still get our fair percentage from the money which returns from Europe.
Nobody voted to lose a penny of countryside support and we have to fight to keep every penny.
This is a real threat, especially to our young people in the countryside.
Our young people’s exile from our countryside communities is a threat to the continuation of our language and nation.
In the last decade, 117,000 young people between 15 and 29 have left Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Anglesey and Gwynedd.
That is why Plaid Cymru and I ensured £6 million for the young farmers’ grant scheme starting this month.
New blood brings new ideas to the sector and promotes the establishment of farm businesses which are sustainable, profitable and durable in Wales.