The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for food production to remain at the front and centre of the Welsh Government’s upcoming agriculture bill in order to ensure that the Welsh agricultural industry and the rural communities it supports continue to thrive.
The calls come as Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS held a roundtable at the Royal Welsh Show with key stakeholders including NFU Cymru, Powys County Councillors, the FUW, RSPB, DPJ, Our Food 1200 and local producers and farmers.
The roundtable was chaired by Stuart Roberts, the former Deputy President of NFU England and Wales who recently joined the Liberal Democrats and is leading on the party’s agricultural policies.
Earlier this week, the Welsh Government published Sustainable Farming Scheme: outline proposals for 2025. Of the ten Land Management Outcomes listed, none relate to the production of food.
Commenting Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said:
“The challenges faced by the Welsh agricultural sector are huge, but with the upcoming agricultural bill, we have a real opportunity to create a plan in Wales that deliver for Wales.
“Welsh farmers understand the threat of climate change with extreme weather like we have experienced in the last week posing a direct threat to their way of life and there isn’t many farmers I have met who don’t understand the need to adapt to combat this threat.
“However it is vitally important that we don’t also loose track of the main purpose of agriculture, which is to produce food for our nation and beyond.
“Recently the crisis in Ukraine has proven the importance of food security worldwide and here in the UK, the cost-of-living crisis and rising food poverty highlight the importance of domestic food production even more.
“Welsh Labour must understand the importance of food production and security and include this within the upcoming agriculture bill.”