Unique position of Wales must be recognised in future of agri-planning

ALAN DAVIES

ALAN DAVIES

THE uniqueness of Welsh agriculture and the importance of involving the devolved administrations in planning the future of agriculture have been reiterated by the FUW, following a speech made by DEFRA’s Andrea Leadsom. Whilst the FUW welcomed some of the points made by the Environment Secretary, such as the acknowledgement that the industry will need financial support after having made an exit from the European Union and tariff‐free access to the European markets, it was disappointing to note the lack of recognition for devolved administrations and the crucial role they need to play in devising a UK wide framework for agriculture. The union has previously welcomed the recognition of the role devolved administrations should play in planning for our departure from the European Union, when Prime Minister Theresa May outlined her 12 point Brexit plan, and her recognition that Wales is different to the rest of the UK. FUW managing director Alan Davies said: “Andrea Leadsom stated that she will be meeting with each of the Ministers from the devolved administrations in Edinburgh at the end of February, but we need those in Westminster to fully understand that the complex political principles at stake here, can only be resolved through cooperation and collaboration between all 4 nations of the United Kingdom. And more importantly, until those principles are resolved we cannot be clear as to who will have primacy of decision making in the long term. “The Prime Minister has previously said that there will be no landgrab of powers from devolved nations and that means that the Welsh Government will be responsible for all agriculture policy, a position we welcome. “But we also recognise the need to create and work within a UK Framework that enables and constrains the UK administrations in a way that creates a healthy yet stable home market in the UK.” The FUW has, since the referendum result last year, stressed that the UK post‐Brexit needs to put a UK agricultural framework in place which prevents unfair competition between devolved regions and secures and protects adequate long term funding for agriculture, while also respecting devolved powers over agriculture. “We ask what sort of industry we want to be and what sort of country we want to be and the answer is really quite obvious ‐ agriculture in the UK and in Wales has to be profitable and sustainable and the important role family farms play in making the wheels of the rural economy go round have to be recognised and we must recognise that Wales is not the same as England in terms of need, product and social importance of agriculture. “The FUW is in agreement that we can have a prosperous future for the sector once we leave the EU and that there are plenty of opportunities to be explored but a lot of it depends on the willingness of our politicians in Westminster to recognise how different farming across the devolved nations is and that they have very different requirements,” added Alan Davies

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