FUW said the UK’s lack of a ’plan B’ meant any exit from the European Union would be a dangerous step into the dark.
The Farmers Union of Wales has branded the prospect of the UK’s exit from the EU as a dangerous step into the unknown.
“The frustrations of others are shared by Welsh farmers in terms of the EU’s many shortcomings, but the FUW’s long established view is that a Brexit would have dire economic consequences for Wales and the UK, with our rural communities hit the worst,” Alan Davies the union’s newly-appointed managing director, said.
“According to a recent report by Agra-Europe, Wales benefits financially more than any other region of Britain, receiving an average of around £185 per capita each year.
“In 2001 the foot and mouth disease outbreak meant we were not able to export our main agricultural products to the rest of the EU and Welsh farmers lost around £100 million in today’s terms.
“It meant the already low incomes of our hill farmers, who make up the majority of the industry, fell to an average of £1,700 per annum,” added Mr Davies.
“The impact was basically the same as being outside the EU and having an import quota of zero. So from the point of view of our access to the 500 million or so EU consumers who are on our doorstep we need to know what our likely export quota for Welsh lamb, Welsh cheese or Welsh beef would be after a Brexit?
“What would the import tariffs for our products be? What would replace the current support in place for agriculture and our rural communities through the Common Agricultural Policy?
“There are so many unanswered questions that any vote in the near future would be a dangerous step in the dark.
“Welsh agriculture and rural communities would be severely undermined by many of the policies on agriculture advocated by successive UK Governments, including those aimed at undermining the CAP.
“Only last week Secretary of State, Liz Truss, confirmed there is currently no ‘plan B’ for agriculture should the electorate decide we should leave the EU.
“Unless we see some contingency planning, outlining the possibilities, some people will be voting for a dangerous step into the unknown, which we believe will be catastrophic for Wales and the UK.”