A Welsh Parliament committee has called for stronger food security provisions in the UK Agriculture Bill.
In a new report, the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee warned the Bill must go further if it is to be ‘fit for purpose and protect Welsh and UK citizens’.
After taking evidence from farming groups, MSs said the Government must report on the UK’s food security either annually or biannually, as opposed to once every five years, and proposed an amendment to the Bill which would require both the UK and Welsh Governments to publish a response to these regular audits, and take appropriate action as a result of the findings.
They also called for the needs of Wales to be considered when assessing the UK’s food security, using a process informed by consultation with stakeholders.
TFA Cymru chairman Dennis Matheson said: “It is great news that issues around food security are back on our policy agendas.
“The committee has rightly identified the need to reflect what we have learned about our food security resilience in Wales as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our food supply system.
“We need to have ongoing scrutiny of this important issue for citizens within Wales as part of the wellbeing objectives of the Welsh Government.
“I hope the Minister will respond positively to these beneficial recommendations.”
FUW president Glyn Roberts also welcomed the committee’s report.
He said: “It reflects a long list of key concerns highlighted in the FUW’s evidence – concerns which were raised in the third reading of the Bill by MPs from across the political spectrum and the UK.
“It is a huge concern that the UK Government has failed to take these on board at a time when the evidence on issues such as the need to produce annual food security reports and protect our farmers and consumers is staring them in the face because of the pandemic.”