FUW reaction to WG Update on Sustainable Farming Scheme

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has reacted to the Welsh Government’s response to last year’s Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation saying it remains firmly convinced that families, jobs, communities and food production should be at the heart of planning a new policy - alongside other priorities.

During an update to the Senedd, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said a future agricultural support scheme will be developed around the United Nations Sustainable Land Management framework - an approach the Welsh Government has acknowledged is focused on the sustainable use of resources rather than a broader range of objectives.

Responding to the Welsh Government’s publication, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The proposal to adopt the United Nations’ Sustainable Land Management (SLM) principle as the objective and framework for a future policy fails to encompass wider Welsh goals and objectives, including those defined in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015, and therefore falls short of being an holistic policy. 

“While we welcome some of the conclusions reached in the Welsh Government's response to the consultation, we remain convinced that families, jobs and communities should be at the heart of planning a new policy - alongside sustainable food production and the SLM principles.” 

Mr Roberts said that a scheme which focuses only on the provision of Public Goods and environmental outcomes would fail to take proper account of prosperity, jobs, culture and other issues inherent to the Wellbeing Goals and other Welsh objectives, risking severe adverse impacts.

“We therefore welcome the Welsh Government’s commitment to undertake a range of economic analyses to understand the impact of moving from an entitlement based income support scheme to a voluntary scheme which rewards the production of outcomes.

“This work needs to be thorough and look at impacts for individual businesses, sectors and regions of Wales as well as the implications for the tens of thousands of businesses which rely on agriculture and the scheme delivery costs.

“Above all else, it is concerning that the recent food shortages, delays and difficulties in administering our current environmental scheme - Glastir -  and hundreds of consultation responses highlighting concerns about the overall direction of travel has not given the Welsh Government more pause for thought.”