Target resources to boost food and farming

FUTURE European and Government funding must be targeted to provide tangible benefits for the Welsh food and farming sector, Hybu Cig Cymru chairman Dai Davies told a breakfast reception at the start of the Winter Fair. “Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy is at the forefront of everyone’s minds as we approach 2015 and there’s no doubt that the new Rural Development Plan (RDP) will play a vital role in Wales,” he said. “RDP funds have to be used in a strategic and sector specific fashion with projects leading to measurable outcomes, not only joining up the supply chain but also improving each link, to address the needs of a market-led industry as it looks to develop profitably for the future.” Mr Davies said an example of how RDP funds could be used effectively to assist sectors of the industry was a project recently undertaken by HCC to overcome barriers to electronic identification of sheep. “I strongly believe that the industry is willing to embrace change for a better future,” he said. “The outstanding success of the removing barriers to electronic recording project, which offered registered sheep farmers the opportunity to integrate electronic identification technology into their business, is one example. “Within a fortnight of the launch of a website providing details of the project, all 1,500 available vouchers to help farmers had been issued – a clear sign that farmers are serious about improving their businesses.” Mr Davies said it had been an exceptionally busy year for HCC at home and abroad. “The beef sector has suffered a number of problems this year which is why HCC ordered a review which contained a number of recommendations. “The main conclusion is that everyone in the industry – farmers, auctioneers, processors and retailers – should all work closely with HCC and the Welsh Government to deliver the kind of food demanded by today’s consumers at a price that guarantees a sustainable, long term future for all links in the chain. “That is not an impossible task. It can be achieved as long as everyone is willing to work together,” he said.

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