An NFU Cymru delegation has taken up three key issues directly with the Welsh Government’s Farming and Food Deputy Minister, Rebecca Evans - the Wales Rural Development Programme, the Basic Payment Scheme and the on-going availability of plant protection products.
Perkin Evans, chairman of the union’s combinable crops and horticulture working group, said: “Just like our colleagues in the livestock and dairy sectors, arable and horticultural products have also suffered low prices.
“We know there is little the Welsh Government can do about poor returns from the marketplace, but there are a number of factors which are within its scope.
“With European Commissioner Phil Hogan placing CAP simplification at the top of his agenda, the Welsh Government could seize the opportunity this presents to push back some of the more onerous requirements affecting our ability to farm productively,” he added.
The loss of plant protection products was another concern Mr Evans raised with the Deputy Minister.
“The European Commission’s insistence on a hazard based, rather than risk based, approach, has led to a situation in which we have fewer and fewer products for the control of pests and diseases.
“This is not only undermining the ability to produce food, but could also lead to the emergence of resistance. Hopefully this is something the Deputy Minister will be able to raise with EU officials in the near future.”
Frustration at the slow roll-out of the Wales Rural Development Programme was another area of concern raised, with the union’s next generation board member, Tom Rees, pointing to the unfairness of the funding being offered.
“While large-scale grants will be appropriate for some farmers, there are a great number out there who would derive significant benefit if they were able to access more modest grants for on-farm technology,” he said.
“Such things as precision farming equipment would allow farmers to reduce costs by becoming more efficient and deliver environmental and climate change benefits.”