The Farmers Union of Wales has stated the definite need for a contingency plan for agriculture should Britain leave the EU.
A contingency plan for agriculture should the UK vote to leave the European Union on June 23 is considered absolutely essential by the Farmers Union of Wales.
“Defra Minister George Eustice recently hinted what a contingency plan for agriculture could look like but there are apparently no firm or detailed plans in the pipeline and what is being said is little better than speculation,” Alan Davies, the union’s managing director, said today (Monday, February 29).
The union’s call for a plan B follows an implied adoption of a system similar to current area payments, with accreditation schemes that farmers could enroll in automatically rather than having an annual application process.
Mr Eustice has also suggested the budget allocated to farm payments - which has already been cut significantly - could be slashed by around a third.
“His indication that the payment budget could be cut so significantly will for many confirm a key fear that support for rural areas will diminish if we leave the EU, after all successive UK Governments have been at the forefront of moves to reduce the CAP budget for years,” said Mr Davies.
“If the Wales proportion of a £2 billion budget reflected current allocations, we would be worse off by about £85 million per annum. The impact for rural communities and supply chains would be devastating.
“Of course, there are things that could be done differently should we leave the EU but at the moment we are still in the dark and have already urged the Welsh and UK Governments to come up with contingency plans to secure the future of Welsh farming,” added Mr Davies.
“Leaving the EU is not a policy the union supports and we have yet to see any evidence that leaving the EU will have any significant impact on the rules and regulations that many criticise.
“But we have plenty of evidence published by successive UK Governments that support for farming, rural communities and food security will quickly dissolve once we are outside the EU,” added Mr Davies.
“Voters need to have all the details ahead of the June referendum in order to make an informed decision.”