NFU Cymru welcomes Welsh Government funding announcement

NFU Cymru has welcomed an announcement that Welsh Government will make £227m of funding available to Welsh farmers and rural sectors over the next three years.

The funding, which Welsh Government called a ‘response’ to the ending of the EU Rural Development Programme (RDP) in 2023, will be delivered across a framework of six themes that will complement the incoming Sustainable Farming Scheme.

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said:

“The union is pleased to see the Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths MS announcing her plans to set out an initial tranche of domestic funding in response to the ending of the 2014- 2020 EU RDP.

“Whilst the Minister has announced the themes under which she is proposing to commit funding and when expression of interest windows are due to open for a number of schemes that will open in the coming weeks, we do not yet know any more detail on these schemes. We very much hope that the Minister will work with industry over the coming weeks to share more detail and to allow industry to input into the design of the schemes to ensure that they provide maximum opportunities for farmers to access.

“NFU Cymru has set out ambitious plans for the industry to reach net zero by 2040. To achieve our aim, we need measures that support farmers to improve efficiency, capture more carbon on our land and in our soils and boost our production of renewable energy. We are clear that at the same time as reducing our impact on the climate, we should not reduce our capacity to feed consumers with high quality, affordable Welsh food.

“Through our Growing Together strategy, NFU Cymru has also set out how we believe tree cover can be increased in Wales alongside the continued production of high quality, affordable food and thriving rural communities.

“We want to work with the Minister and her officials to ensure that the funding announced today, and over the next three years under this programme, can help us realise our ambition and potential.”

Mr Jones said he was encouraged that the Minister had used her announcement to signal that she wanted to support sustainable food production by Welsh farmers. The NFU Cymru President stated this would be particularly important given the ongoing geo-political uncertainty and regulatory changes that were increasing pressures on farmers’ margins.

He added:

“Given the challenges we face as result of the recent dramatic rises in input costs and the pressures this is placing on food production, alongside the substantial investment needed for the industry to meet the huge challenges posed by the imposition of the all-Wales NVZ regulations, it is vital that this funding announced today is made available to Welsh farmers in a timely fashion.

“NFU Cymru, along with industry partners, has submitted a concept paper to the Minister for a Low Carbon Farming Framework which we believe should be funded under this programme. Whilst the Minister has not referred to this in her announcement, we very much hope that she is giving it her due consideration, as we believe that our proposals could act as a powerful lever to support the industry to work towards achieving its ambition of 2040 net zero.”

Gwynoro Jones

Former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones joined the team covering politics in Wales. He has a wealth of experience in politics and has been a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspapers in Wales. Email: gwynorojones@walesnewsonline.com
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