FUW highlights need for Welsh produce procurement policy with Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has renewed its call for the Welsh Government to take the lead in initiating plans for more sustainable and supportive public procurement policies ahead of Brexit at the Denbigh and Flint County Show, when Union officials met with Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths.

FUW Flintshire County Chairman Eurwyn Roberts said: “We had very positive discussions with the Cabinet Secretary and thank her for meeting us at the show. In our discussions we made it clear that Wales needs to decide what it wants to be and decide what Wales is about. For us it is clear that if those in power do just that they will understand the importance of agriculture. We don’t want to be the same as other countries, we want to create our own future. And in order for us to create our own future Welsh Government has to realise that hiding behind state-aid rules is no longer an option: our schools, hospitals, armed forces and all other public services deserve access to the top quality produce that we grow here in Wales, and our farmers and rural economies deserve recognition for what they produce.

“As an Union we renewed our call for immediate action to initiate draft legislation which will mandate the procurement of British produce by the UK public Sector. This will support rather than spite the sectors which lie at the heart of our rural economies. Our county shows are the perfect shop window not only to show off the great food we produce but also highlight that there are many other industries directly reliant on the success of agriculture. If we want to see Wales and rural Wales prosper and be the Powerhouse it has the potential to be, then we must recognise that family farms lie at the centre of our rural economy, culture and landscape and realise that it makes innumerable other contributions to the well-being of Welsh and UK resident. There are still many uncertainties ahead of us but Welsh Government has it in its power to show its support for our Welsh farming industry by making a commitment to its food producers and custodians of the countryside.”

FUW officials also highlighted that while food production is at the heart of direct economic benefits and the preservation of a culture intrinsically linked to farming, the wider benefits of Welsh agriculture as vast.

“As managers of around 80 percent of Wales’ landmass, us farmers play an invaluable part in managing and preserving the landscape we all enjoy so much. Our countryside is diverse in habitat and species and includes more than 1,000 Sites of Special Scientific Interest and it also brings millions of tourists to our country each year. So yes, we produce food – which is vital in terms of food security, but we also do a lot more than that, something that has to be recognised by all,” added Mr Roberts.

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