“Farming needs a friend” the Welsh Conservatives say as they launch their alternative vision for the agricultural sector in Wales at the Royal Welsh Show.
Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Samuel Kurtz MS’ plan will protect, promote, and provide for Welsh agriculture as the Party seeks to work with rather than against farmers, who currently feel that is the situation under the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay. It comes in three strands:
- Protect: continue to ensure high animal welfare and production standards which have made Welsh agricultural products some of the best in the world and looking after our farmers and their mental health whilst ensuring our domestic industry safeguards us against global flux.
- Promote: work across industries to develop markets for Welsh produce both home and abroad and add value to raw products. The role agriculture can, and does, play in protecting our environment.
- Provide: support the industry to increase both our food security and sustainability to help weather the storm of high fuel, feed and fertiliser costs whilst developing opportunities for new entrants to start in the industry.
Following conversations with the main industry bodies, a Welsh Conservative Alternative Agriculture Bill would:
- Focus on food security, enabling Wales to produce more of its own to reduce reliance on imports from outside of the UK in these challenging and turbulent global times;
- Be sustainable and understands the relationship between the land and those who work it;
- Be as simple to administer and deliver as possible, and focussed on those who actively work their land;
- Encourage investment into farmers and agricultural industry, whilst supporting new entrants and supporting the next generation of Welsh farmers; and
- Ensure that Welsh farmers are able to compete on an equal and level playing field with their counterpart elsewhere in the UK and EU.
It comes at a difficult time for the agricultural industry who are contending with the Labour Government’s stagnating policy towards bovine TB, imposition of controversial Wales-wide Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, and the failure to hold a food summit to deal with rising prices.
Yesterday, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies MS once again called on Mark Drakeford to match the UK Conservative Government’s actions in England and give farmers half of their Basic Payment Scheme funds six months early to tackle increasing costs and disrupted supply chains.
Samuel Kurtz, also the Welsh Conservative MS for Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, said:
“I’ve long said that farming needs a friend, and I believe that this plan proves that the Welsh Conservatives are that friend. We want to work with the industry to achieve our mutual goals which will benefit all communities across Wales.
“That is why the thoughts and asks of agricultural organisations has fed into this work; shaping our future policy to ensure that those who are the custodians of the land, are at the heart of how we protect, promote, and provide through Welsh agriculture sustainably for now and future generations.
“Delivering on the key objectives set out in our Alternative Agriculture Bill will enrich our rural communities, support our environmental and nature objectives, safeguard our culture and language and will ensure Welsh agriculture is strong, robust and ready for the challenges of the 21st century.”