The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has written to Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe, outlining the urgent need to safeguard domestic food security and primary producers by ensuring that the procurement process is properly aligned with the Well Being of Future Generations Act.
In his letter, FUW President Glyn Roberts stressed that it is essential that the food procurement process does not place price above all other factors and functions in a way which protects domestic food security, preserves the food supply chain and ensures the longer term viability of our food producers and their businesses.
“The current Covid-19 pandemic has placed significant pressure on the farming industry, with a varied impact on food supply chains. Whilst panic buying and other factors have led to significant shortages of certain foodstuffs, sales of produce through cafes and other outlets have plummeted. This has led to major price cuts for many of our red meat and dairy producers.
“The pandemic has brought the importance of maintaining UK food security into sharp focus and it is essential that those businesses producing our most essential commodity are both supported and recognised in the short and longer term,” wrote Mr Roberts.
This, he stresses, is especially pertinent given that the Welsh agricultural sector was already under pressure from other industry uncertainties, not least those associated with Brexit and the current Welsh Government appetite for increasing agricultural regulation above and beyond that experienced by our global competitors.
“Whilst the FUW appreciates that increasing and promoting domestic food procurement is not a silver bullet to current industry problems, we believe that it is essential that the UK Government recognise our key workers and lead by example when procuring foodstuffs in order to protect the longer-term viability and sustainability of those family farms and businesses which are vital in ensuring that the UK has a secure food supply,” he added.