Work on UK-wide framework for agriculture 'essential'

Farming minister Robert Goodwill (L) met with Welsh farm leaders
Farming minister Robert Goodwill (L) met with Welsh farm leaders

Work on developing a UK framework for agriculture is 'essential' despite the collapse of the government’s Brexit policy, the new farming minister was told.

Newly-appointed Defra minister Robert Goodwill met with farmers in Wales and heard how bespoke policies suited to each nation of the UK are needed, whilst constraining policies that might disrupt the UK home market.

The Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) fears that an ‘unprecedented legislative void’ will be created post-Brexit which could allow significant policy divergence between the UK's four nations.

President Glyn Roberts said: “This is likely to result in market distortion and unfair competition, causing significant disruption to the functioning of the UK’s internal markets and supply chains.

“We emphasised the need for agreed frameworks to prevent this and to secure and protect long term funding for agriculture, whilst respecting devolved powers and the need for flexibility which allows national governments to make decisions appropriate for their regions.”

“Being free from the clutches of the CAP should not mean that each country is free to do as it wishes irrespective of the impact on other UK nations,” he said.

The FUW, established more than sixty years ago to advance the interests of Welsh farmers, remains committed to devolution and the advantages brought to Wales and other nations over the past two decades.

“Such changes do not negate the need for all our nations to work together to develop approaches which are mutually beneficial and protect not only our farmers and internal markets, but also our status and reputation across Europe and the World,” Mr Roberts said.

The union also identified it’s #FairFarmFunding campaign for Wales to receive a financial settlement for agriculture that is akin to the CAP allocation and is not Barnetised.

“We welcome the UK Government’s indication that this is their intention, but we need to know that any funds allocated to agriculture remain ring-fenced - something that former First Minister Carwyn Jones also emphasised,” the FUW President added.