NFU Cymru’s Milk Board has criticised the Welsh Government for failing to include measures to help farmers manage volatility in its post-Brexit policy consultation.
The board met last week to gather initial reaction to the plans, set out in the ‘Brexit and Our Land’ document.
Gareth Richards, the board’s chairman, said: “Our biggest and overriding concern is the glaring lack of volatility tools in the proposal.
“While the consultation rightly recognises the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) has been a tool for managing volatility, the consultation proposals to phase out BPS by 2025 without adequate alternative policy measures in place to help the industry manage extreme volatility are worrying.
“It is the firm view of the NFU Cymru Milk Board that Government has a role to play in helping farmers to manage their exposure to risks caused by external factors completely outside our control, such as trade bans, extreme global market fluctuations, weather and disease threats.
“The Cabinet Secretary [Lesley Griffiths] has made it clear this is a consultation and our view as a Milk Board is clear in that measures to provide stability to our sector are a vital part of future policy in Wales.
“There are a range of Government-backed measures used across the world to help farmers manage volatility and provide stability. We must ensure we have appropriate measures specific to the needs and issues faced by Welsh farmers.”
Though the Welsh Government has been praised for being ‘front of the pack’ on the development of post-Brexit policy, NFU Cymru president John Davies has previously warned stability measures must be maintained.
When asked whether the Welsh Government would introduce new measures to mitigate volatility at the launch of the consultation, Ms Griffiths told Farmers Guardian she ‘had not really looked into that’, though she made clear she welcomed views on all the proposals.
In England, the NFU has made similar demands, but a top Treasury official made his opposition to the proposal clear at a Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum event last month, suggesting keeping direct payments after Brexit could mean farmers stop ‘bothering about managing risk’.