The Countryside Alliance has submitted evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee’s agriculture post Brexit inquiry. The inquiry will be considering the key factors influencing the prosperity of farming in Wales once negotiations to leave the EU are completed and the Alliance has detailed four factors which they believe are important for this inquiry – trade, food labelling, labour, and support payments.
Rachel Evans, Director for Wales said:
“In recognition of the importance of trade with the EU, it is vital that the UK Government seeks to maintain tariff-free access to the EU market for food and agricultural produce. In 2016 Wales exported 93 percent of its meat to the EU and high tariffs would be particularly damaging to some of the most rural areas in Wales where farming is a vital part of the local economy and community.
“Exiting the EU presents us with a great opportunity for fair and honest food labelling in order to give consumers greater confidence and ability to back Welsh producers and farmers across the UK. The EU has established mandatory country of origin labelling for beef, lamb, pork and poultry. However, this does not include foods where the meat is processed or an ingredient, such as sausages and ready meals. The introduction of legislation making it a legal requirement for the country of origin to be included on lightly processed meats such as sausages and bacon would help support farmers by providing consumers with greater choice and confidence.
“People from the EU play an important role in harvesting, production and processing across the food supply chain, in both skilled and unskilled jobs. The UK Government must consider how our future relationship with the EU will enable people to travel to Wales to work in the food and farming industry, particularly at important times of the year.”
Closing her remarks on the submission to the inquiry Rachel Evans stressed the need for the Common Agricultural Policy to be replaced and the need for support payments to be maintained.
Rachel Evans said:
“Support payments play an important role in the food and farming industry and the wider economy. This is particularly important in rural areas in Wales where farming remains an important part of the economic and social life of the local community. Despite efforts and incentives to improve competitiveness, there will continue to be some parts of Wales, where farmers cannot survive on the profits of food production alone and this needs to be addressed in a new agricultural policy as well as continued efforts to support diversification.”