Brexit and Covid to dominate NFU Cymru's annual conference

NFU Cymru President John Davies will warn of the challenges facing Welsh farming
NFU Cymru President John Davies will warn of the challenges facing Welsh farming

The issues of Brexit and Covid-19 are set to dominate NFU Cymru's annual conference in what has been described as a ‘pivotal time’ for Welsh farming.

NFU Cymru President John Davies will use his address at the conference to warn about the present and upcoming challenges for the industry.

With just over 50 days until the end of the transition period and Covid-19 continuing its impact, the virtual conference will explore the issues impacting farmers.

The event, taking place on Thursday (5 November), will feature discussions with Welsh government Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths, as well as Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss.

The conference will also host panel discussions on future Welsh agriculture policy and Wales in the global marketplace.

Mr Davies will stress that ‘there is much to do and very little time’ if UK government is to ensure a favourable trade deal with the EU – a market of importance to farmers.

He will say: “With Covid-19 dominating our thoughts, it could be easy for us to forget that it is just over 50 days to go until the ending of the Brexit transition period.

"Our negotiators must have total focus on securing a comprehensive deal with the EU that will come into force at the end of the transition period.

"We cannot afford to face eye watering tariffs, even for a short time, on the bulk of our agri food exports."

The president will also highlight the important role farmers have played in keeping the nation fed throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

He will say: “Covid-19 has impacted on all our lives in 2020, the announcements of recent days make it clear that its impact will be with us for some time to come.

“Despite the challenges we faced, it was pleasing to see how the supply chain came together to keep the nation fed.

“We have to recognise the challenge of Covid-19 is still very much with us: in Wales we remain in a ‘firebreak’ lockdown, England is back in full lockdown. What impact will this have on the marketplace?"

Empty supermarket shelves has highlighted the importance of access to safe, high quality, affordable food, Mr Davies is set to point out.

"We need to pause and reflect on all that has taken place, learn the lessons of this past year, the importance of domestic food production and the value that society places on our high standards."