The importance of food and family farms must be remembered by any party which takes on the UK Government as it strives to ‘bridge the divides’ caused by Brexit, Welsh unions have said.
Launching their manifestos at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair today (November 25), both NFU Cymru and the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) said politicians should ensure food is continued to be produced in the UK to the ‘highest standards’, while ensuring the UK’s exit from the EU is on ‘favourable terms’.
Top asks from NFU Cymru include ensuring the ‘best possible access’ to the markets of the EU27, as well as the establishment of a Trade Standards Commissioner to ensure domestic standards of production are not undermined by imports produced to lower standards.
Other asks include that any future funding for agriculture be maintained at current levels, and for agriculture and the food and drink supply to have access to ‘the reliable permanent and seasonal workforce it needs’.
NFU Cymru president John Davies said: “We need to look afresh at public procurement of food, and getting a far greater proportion of domestically produced food into government procurement contracts.
“We also urgently need improved fairness and transparency in the supply chain, something the next government can work towards by making the principles in the current dairy and beef voluntary codes mandatory.”
The countryside must also not be left behind by poor rural connectivity, Mr Davies said, while rural areas need to see an influx of police and rural crime officers.
FUW said it wanted to see the industry play a central role in mitigating the risks of climate change, ‘in a way which does not compromise food production and the family farms which hold together the social fabric of our hill, upland and lowland communities’.
President Glyn Roberts added: “For the period of the next Parliament and beyond, the FUW is committed to lobbying and working with all those in Westminster to ensure that Welsh agriculture and Wales’ family farms receive the attention and respect that they warrant – for the sake of all our futures.”