The Farmers’ Union of Wales has expressed concern about uncertainties around support for agriculture in the years leading up to Brexit and beyond.
“We were very pleased to hear of early commitments from the Treasury to support agriculture,” said Glyn Roberts, the Union’s President.
“However, we are worried about the detail to support the statements. For example, a commitment to 2020 for CAP Pillar 1 funding could be read as March 2020 as part of the financial year 2019/20 or it could mean to the end of the financial year almost 12 months later.
“The announcement of CAP pillar 2 support until possibly 2022, which was made by the Chancellor at the Conservative Party Conference, whilst welcome, is also adding to the confusion. Such ambiguity is not welcome and does not help individuals plan their businesses. Careful and precise statements are needed now more than ever,” added Mr Roberts.
“Furthermore I am deeply concerned about the impact that a ‘hard-Brexit’ might have on agriculture. If we do not have markets established on leaving the EU our income sources will be severely depleted. And with some UK Ministers clearly advocating that a hard exit is the right answer, we need to ensure that there are sound and sustainable mechanisms in place to provide a soft landing for the farmers of Wales. We cannot afford to lose markets with no additional support,” he said.
Irrespective of hard or soft exit though, the Union is also concerned about the need for longer-term transition to new regimes.
“There are many that see membership of the EU with its pros and cons as a binary event either “In” or “Out”. We must have a transition to new regimes of policy and funding to ensure that we reduce the risks to farmers in Wales,” said Mr Roberts.