The poll of over 1,000 adults in Wales1, conducted by YouGov and launched ahead of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair on Monday 27 November, found that 82% support the Welsh Government providing financial support to farmers to produce food. When taking into account Welsh Government’s priorities, 72% said that supporting Welsh farmers was a good use of public spending. The survey’s findings showed that this support for public spending on farming was high across the electorate and regions of Wales. Public backing remains very high in the Cardiff and South Central region, a predominantly urban area with a large population, where support for food production (86%) and funding for farming being seen as a good use of public spending (76%) were higher than the all-Wales figures2.
Elsewhere, three quarters of Welsh adults (74%) view food produced in Wales as high quality, while two thirds of Welsh adults (66%) think the amount of locally produced food in the public sector should be increased.
The data also showed that 67% of people want UK food production to be as self-sufficient as possible and, of those who do, 70% think Wales can play a leading role (20%) or have a major role (50%) to play in self-sufficiency.
NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said: “Welsh Government’s budget reprioritisation statement last month was a stark warning as to the deficit the government is facing in this financial year, as well as the ongoing challenge that Welsh Government will face in setting its future budgets across its portfolios in the coming years.
"The way that Welsh Government can prove to us that they value everything that we deliver, is by protecting that budget."— NFU Cymru 🚜 (@NFUCymru) November 26, 2023
Our Deputy President @AbiReader appeared on #PoliticsWales this morning discussing the rural affairs budget.
“In its frequent engagement with Welsh Government Cabinet Ministers and MSs, NFU Cymru is told that the union must demonstrate the value of farming not only to government, but also to the taxpayer. I am, therefore, delighted that our recently-commissioned survey has showed the high levels of backing amongst the public for support for Welsh agriculture and, in particular, financially supporting farmers to produce food.
“The findings of this survey show that the benefits of Welsh farming - whether that’s producing high quality food, supporting the livelihoods of rural communities, boosting the economy of Wales, enhancing the environment or managing our iconic landscapes - are recognised by a large proportion of the population, whether they’re living in urban areas or in the Welsh countryside.
Voice of the Welsh public
“Ahead of Welsh Government announcing its draft budget statement next month, it is crucial that Welsh Government Cabinet Members and other MSs, whichever region or constituency they serve, listen to the resounding voice of the Welsh public in this survey. People across Wales want to see our farming sector supported to produce food alongside the other benefits they already deliver.
“Although the findings of this public poll will no doubt be welcome news for those attending the Royal Welsh Winter Fair and farmers throughout the country, we do not take this public commendation of public spend on agriculture for granted. NFU Cymru recognises the significant financial pressures Welsh Government is facing. It is our firm belief, however, that a sector that continues to feed the nation, manages 80% of the land area in Wales, underpins an £8 billion food and farming sector and makes unparalleled contribution to the economic, environmental, social and cultural wellbeing of rural Wales – all for just 2% of the current overall Welsh Government spend – is a sector that represents an exceptional return for public funding and is seen as a good use of public funds by the people of Wales.”