NSA welcomes positive tone of Welsh Government future farming response
9th July 2020
The National Sheep Association (NSA) is welcoming the tone of the Welsh Government’s response to the Sustainable Farming and Our Land consultation, however, has some concern about the longevity of policy changes.
NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: “NSA welcomes the Welsh Government’s response to the Sustainable Farming and Our Land consultation. While there is a lot of detail to be worked through, the principles set out in the response and the Ministers statement are welcomed and read as being supportive of farming in Wales as well as recognising the value of farmers and farming to the nation.
“NSA doesn’t read this as meaning that change won’t come – in many areas we welcome change and we agree with many of the statements made in the Governments response. We welcome the references to the importance of food production in Wales and the contribution that high-quality food production will contribute to Welsh Sustainable Brand Values. We also welcome the references to food security and the importance of export and imports so that Wales can lean towards producing what the nations climate and natural resources and culture do so well, recognising that other nations will do likewise and that consumers in Wales will want choice and dietary variation.
“In terms of future support to farming in Wales, again, we welcome the principle that the Government should incentivise and support farmers to run truly sustainable farming systems, and we welcome the intention to move way beyond the income foregone approach, with a strong suggestion that sustainability is viewed in the widest of contexts – multifunctional farming and land management.”
NSA Cymru/Wales Regional Development Officer, Helen Roberts comments: “This announcement is most certainly welcome, however, as with most announcements, there does remain some concern. In this instance, we have specific concerns about further consultation with no specific timescales. The speech seems to hint that there will be an interim scheme from when BPS ends, and a new scheme is launched. With Senedd elections due next May, there is concern this policy won’t be delivered as said.”
NSA Cymru/Wales Region Chairman Kate Hovers adds: “I welcome the positive tone of the WG response and the recognition of the importance of Welsh agriculture to sustainable food supply for the future. We look forward to working with Welsh Government on the details, timescale, and implementation. Welsh farmers are proud of our environment and heritage and we acknowledge that everyone, in all walks of life needs to look at their behaviour and lifestyles for us to be able to feed the increasing world population while protecting the climate and the environment.”
NSA will continue to engage with Welsh Government with Ministers and Welsh Government officials over the coming months and years but is optimistic that the right principles are being set.