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Lesley Griffiths appointed as new Welsh Farming Minister

The appointment of Lesley Griffiths as the Welsh Government’s new Environment and Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary has been welcomed by farming leaders.
Lesley Griffiths
Lesley Griffiths

Unlike in previous Cabinets, First Minister Carwyn Jones has now labelled his top team as Secretaries.

 

A mother of two daughters and in her mid 50s, Mrs Griffiths takes on her new role having been Assembly Member for Wrexham since 2007 and in the last Welsh Government was Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty.

 

“Agriculture plays a vital role in the Welsh economy - it has an annual gross output estimated at £1.5bn with nearly 60,000 people employed in the sector – and we wish her well for the task ahead,” said NFU Cymru president, Stephen James.

 

“We are pleased that this has been recognised with an appointment to Cabinet level.

 

“Lesley Griffiths joins us at a crucial time, with markets in difficulty and farm incomes under severe pressure so we very much look to her to hit the ground running.

 

“In our election manifesto we set out the key actions that this new Government needs to take to support our industry and help us to deliver a productive, profitable and progressive agriculture industry in Wales.

 

“There are a number of issues that the new Cabinet Secretary must urgently address. In particular, the roll out of the Wales RDP, ensuring that it is used to support widespread investment in new technology on farms across Wales.

 

“The curse of bovine TB must also be prioritised through an eradication strategy which tackles the disease in both cattle and wildlife, as well as the need to use every opportunity to market and promote our quality Welsh food to new and existing markets.”

 

“The threat of new Nitrate Vulnerable Zones also looms large over parts of Wales. Farms potentially affected see these zones having a significant economic impact on their businesses and this in turn will impact negatively on the wider rural economy.

 

“We ask that there is no gold-plating of the nitrates directive in Wales and ensures that the evidence base underpinning any proposals is robust and stands up to scrutiny,” added Mr James.

 

 

Farmers Union of Wales president, Glyn Roberts, said the union saw the appointment of a full cabinet member as a positive signal.

 

 

“With issues such as climate change and water management dominating agendas such as those listed in the Well-being of Future Generations Act, we are pleased Mrs Griffiths has been appointed to fight for the interests of our rural communities – communities for which agriculture is a cornerstone," said Mr Roberts.

 

That tied in with the FUW’s vision of a Rural Powerhouse for Wales which recognised the central role agriculture and rural areas must play in addressing the challenges of the future, while ensuring the focus did not just fall on the M4 and A55 corridors.

 

“I have written to Mrs Griffiths to congratulate her on her appointment and have asked for an early meeting in order to discuss those issues which are of concern to farmers and have an impact on all aspects of her portfolio,” he added.

 

Critical issues such as bovine TB and Nitrate Vulnerable Zones were ’matters of urgency’.

 


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