Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) managing director Alan Davies used Plaid Cymru’s conference last week to warn against an ‘England-centric’ agricultural policy when the UK leaves the EU.
He also stressed the importance of the rural economy and called on politicians to maintain the same level of farm support which would have been in place if Britain had voted to remain.
“If there is an imposed agricultural framework then it would be England-centric. We must get all nations to agree to a UK framework which prevents unfair competition between devolved regions”, Mr Davies said.
“Agriculture in the UK and in Wales has to be profitable and sustainable and we must recognise Wales is not the same as England in terms of need, product and social importance of agriculture.”
Assembly Member Simon Thomas echoed these concerns, saying a roll-back of powers would be very worrying for Welsh farmers whose market edge was on quality, not price.
He said: “Agriculture has been devolved for 17 years and all four UK nations have developed significantly different policies to meet their different needs.
“We require a UK framework agreed by all four nations on an equal basis with as much freedom as possible for different approaches.”
FUW president Glyn Roberts said Brexit offered plenty of opportunities for the sector, but politicians needed to recognise the different requirements of the devolved nations to ensure its prosperity.
He also called for ‘specific, ring-fenced funding’ for agriculture to be allocated to Wales outside the Barnett Formula and administered by the Welsh Government.