Farmers’ Union of Wales officials reinforced the difference between Wales and England in terms of agriculture, at the Welsh Conservative Party Spring Conference in Cardiff.
Speaking at the event was FUW President Glyn Roberts, who said: “Agriculture in the UK and in Wales has to be profitable and sustainable. In Wales the family farm is the cornerstone of much of our agriculture and our way of life. Far more so than in England. Therefore we must ensure that the role of such farms in rural Wales is recognised.
“Welsh agriculture fundamentally differs in terms of need, product and social importance. Hence why we can’t have an ‘England Centric’ policy once we leave the EU. We need the UK Government to appreciate the difference and repatriate powers from Brussels to the Welsh Government, ideally within a new UK framework.”
The Union President further highlighted that the Farmers’ Union of Wales is the only Union that speaks exclusively on behalf of Welsh farmers, without fear or favour, unfettered by sectional or external financial interests.
He said that given the political uncertainty and the unclear future facing farming, one must remember why the FUW is in existance. “This Union was formed in 1955 when the voice of Welsh farming was not being heard in London. We will not let that voice go unheard again.
“So this is exactly what we will continue to do – we will fight for the survival of farming in Wales and those businesses who derive an income from agriculture. Let us not forget that Welsh agriculture’s gross output is almost £1.5 Billion and that the food and drinks exports are worth £302 million to the economy of Wales.
“There are things happening in regards to our exit from the EU. Whilst the focus will be on the big issues of exit negotiations, there are critical UK issues that need to be resolved through discussion and agreement with devolved nations.
“But, we can work in parallel and continue to plan our future here at home and that’s why I urge our devolved administrations to work together closely and with a sense of urgency in developing the necessary UK agricultural framework,” added Glyn Roberts.
The Union President proceeded to say that: “If we value our communities, our public services, our countryside, our heritage, our schools and our jobs, then we must protect them.
“We can have a prosperous future for the sector after we leave the EU and there are plenty of opportunities to be explored but a lot of it depends on the willingness of our politicians to recognise how different farming across the devolved nations is and that they have very different requirements.”