World Food Day: NFU Cymru celebrates Welsh food producers at the Senedd

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Written by Rachel Martin

NFU Cymru members and Assembly Members have been celebrating the role that Welsh farmers play in producing nutritious, high quality, safe affordable food during an event at the Senedd today on World Food Day (October 16).

The lunchtime event, which was sponsored by Llyr Gruffydd AM, included a special menu of fine Welsh produce.

Speaking at the event, NFU Cymru president John Davies said: “Today is the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation’s World Food Day, which provides us with the perfect chance to recognise all those in Wales who play their part in putting nutritious, high quality, safe and affordable food on our table.

“From the farmers who nurture the land and produce a range of top quality products from it, to Welsh food and drink processors who turn these raw ingredients into a finished product, they are all part of an industry worth £6.8 billion to the Welsh economy annually and which provides employment to over 217,000 people.

Despite the way in which some individuals and organisations have used the media to attack and undermine what we do, Wales’ farmers have a great story to tell.
“Our geography and climate mean that we have optimal conditions for growing grass and turning that into high-quality protein in the form of PGI Welsh Lamb and Beef, as well as a range of dairy products.

“At the same time, our livestock grazing systems are also storing up carbon to help mitigate the impacts of climate change and creating and managing our iconic Welsh landscape.”

Looking to the future

Davies also outlined the union’s ambitious target of reaching net-zero emissions from agriculture by 2040, and talked about the ‘Brand Cymru’ concept, which would seek to maximise the value of sustainably produced food from Welsh farms by ensuring that all partners in the supply chain were able to capitalise on Wales’ unique selling points.

With negotiations between the UK Government and the EU still ongoing in Brussels, Davies was emphatic in putting across the union’s view that if the UK does leave the EU, then this must be done in an “orderly manner” so as to avoid a catastrophic outcome for Welsh agriculture.

Of particular concern, was the prospect of tariffs in the event of a ‘No deal’ Brexit.

Davies said: “With our exports of beef, lamb and cheddar into the EU27 suddenly subject to tariffs of 84%, 48% and 57% respectively, there is no way in which we would be able to compete in the European marketplace.

We will find ourselves priced out of our nearest, largest and most valuable export market.
“At the same time, and because of the UK Government’s decision to uphold its tariff schedule last week, agri-food products will be coming into the UK from the EU-27 and the rest of the world with tariffs partially or totally removed. This represents an entirely unbalanced arrangement.”

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