- Pat Racher
New Support Scheme is Opportunity to Regenerate Welsh Farming
Calon Cymru Network responds to Welsh Government consultation.
Support for agriculture in Wales post-Brexit should focus on work to improve soil quality, to limit carbon emissions, and to encourage fruit and vegetable production to meet the nutritional needs of the Welsh population, says Calon Cymru Network.
The Welsh Government is preparing for the end of support from the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy, which has made annual payments to farmers with more than five hectares (12 acres) of eligible land.
Subsidies have kept many farmers in business. Farm Incomes in Wales: April 2018 to March 2019, from the Welsh Government, reported that in each of the previous five years about 20% of farms made a loss even with subsidy, and over 50% would have made a loss if they had not received subsidy and some income from business diversification. Almost three-quarters of cattle and sheep farms in areas classed as ‘Less Favoured’ either made or would have made a loss without subsidy. Calon Cymru Network, working for a vibrant and sustainable rural economy, accepts the need to subsidise essential foodstuffs but believes subsidies should drive fundamental systemic change.
Therefore, in Calon Cymru’s view, the end of support from the EU is an opportunity to expand the regenerative agriculture and horticulture that will help Wales meet the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, by improving Welsh diets, and the diversity and health of ecosystems. These changes would benefit social, economic and ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change, including climate change. All this cannot be done without improvements to soils.
Other proposals from Calon Cymru include removing the five-hectare threshold for subsidy entitlement, maintaining environmental and welfare standards at levels applying in the EU, and keeping a scheme to encourage new young farmers.
In addition, and contrary to the Welsh Government’s current proposal, Calon Cymru is asking for subsidy entitlements to be retained for land growing hemp, a versatile crop with many industrial uses.
The EU’s Rural Development Programme is also ending. Calon Cymu calls for a replacement scheme with a wider remit, to include initiatives to extend use of the Welsh language and to improve rural communities’ access to public services.
for directors Mark Waghorn, Ken Pearce, Chris Tanner and Pat Racher and the members of Calon Cymru Network.
The Calon Cymru Network works for a vibrant and sustainable rural economy
Mae Rhwydwaith Calon Cymru yn gweithio i economi wledig fywiog a chynaliadw