The Tenant Farmers Association in Wales (TFA Cymru) has warned that the future policy proposals for agriculture, tabled by the Welsh Government, are too slanted towards environmental objectives and have insufficient content around building farm business resilience.
TFA Cymru Chairman, Dennis Matheson, said “It is pleasing to see that the Welsh Government has brought together the economic resilience and public good schemes, talked about in its earlier “Brexit and our Land” consultation, under the single banner of a sustainable land management scheme. However, it has done so at the expense of stripping out most of its plans for building economic resilience within the farming community. The ability to look holistically at the farm business within its environment will be key to securing the sustainability of farming and the farmed environment across Wales. Emphasising environmental outcomes at the expense of business outcomes is a mistake that must be corrected; both must be held in balance”.
“Taken as a whole, the new proposals from the Welsh Government do not pay enough attention to the needs of ensuring the profitability of food production as against wider environmental and well-being objectives. All of these things are important, and it is vital that policy provides a balanced framework allowing for economic, environmental and social sustainable development. Keeping profitable farm businesses across Wales is critical for the Welsh economy, the Welsh environment, and Welsh culture and language,” said Mr Matheson.
TFA Cymru is also concerned about how tenant farmers will access the arrangements proposed. Despite TFA Cymru providing considered advice to the Welsh Government, detailed proposals are still awaited.
“The Welsh Government has a responsibility to ensure that all farm businesses are given equal opportunity to be part of the new policy landscape. Many farm tenants operate under restrictive and insecure tenancy agreements, which will present them with huge barriers to participation in some of the new arrangements being proposed. Whilst Welsh Government has said, it is determined to deliver fair access for tenant farmers, we have yet to see how this will be achieved,” said Mr Matheson