The Sustainable Farming Scheme for Wales falls short of the ‘Brexit and our land’ aspiration says CLA Cymru

09 July 2019

“Farmers may be reassured by a commitment to continued support, but the proposals don’t go far enough to prepare businesses for the future as Brexit approaches” Rebecca Williams, CLA Cymru Director says.

Agriculture and land management together form the backbone of the rural economy. It’s vital to support primary production. Today’s proposals aim to create a stable replacement for the Common Agriculture Policy, but don’t go far enough to prepare farm businesses for the challenges of global competitiveness or maximise the potential of the wider rural economy. Critically the system must recognise the unique and vital contribution that farmers and land managers make to meet a range of today’s global challenges such as climate change. 

Rebecca Williams says. “The Consultation proposes a “Sustainable Farming Scheme” which is intended to balance goals in business resilience and productivity with environmental and social goals. How this works at farm-level still seems to be too far away and too many questions are left unanswered.

Farming has leapt forward – and so must support for the sector. Our post-Brexit framework is an opportunity to forge a fit-for-purpose set of tools to ensure future generations are best served.”

“Many Welsh farms today are complex and varied businesses performing a vital role in a dynamic rural economy. Our support structure must be agile and adaptable to support this. Looking to maximise the potential for prosperity, our system of farm support must embrace and encourage wider entrepreneurship in a rural development strategy which fits with the wider agenda of sustainability, investment and growth.

“We welcome the focus on preserving stability in uncertain times, but with time running-out, farmers must have confidence in the sector to plan ahead with the level of accuracy and detail that all businesses need.

Rebecca Williams says, “The Sustainable Farming Scheme” provides firm foundations. The business support scheme seeks to balance today’s imperatives to meet economic and environmental objectives and to be flexible to meet changing conditions. However we must recall that Prosperity for All: the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan promised to break down the traditional boundaries between different sectors. This is the key to developing a truly progressive rural economy.

Click here to read the Welsh Government consultation