NFU President Minette Batters and NFU Cymru President John Davies have both urged MPs to recognise the importance of our high farming standards and ensure they are not sacrificed by the UK’s future trade policy, as the NFU held one of its first receptions for politicians after the General Election.
MPs from across the political spectrum attended the reception, along with peers, industry representatives and civil servants, to meet with the NFU and NFU Cymru and hear their priorities for the coming parliament.
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “With our departure from the EU now just weeks away, it is a truly critical time for the food and farming sector. We are moving away from almost half a century of participation in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, and we will very shortly be looking to establish a completely new trading relationship with the EU27, and indeed much of the rest of the world. During the course of this Parliament we will see legislation brought forward and decisions made which will impact on farmers for years to come. It is essential that we get these things right as delivering the right post-Brexit trading arrangements, as well as appropriate levels of support for the sector, will be vital to sustaining a viable and productive agricultural sector in Wales.
“Welsh farmers have built a proud reputation for operating to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards; standards which distinguish us from the rest of the world. These high standards must not be undermined by any future trade agreements allowing the import of food produced to standards which would be deemed illegal here, into the UK. I re-iterate my call for the government to introduce a trade and standards commission, to ensure that our own high standards are upheld and respected in any future trade agreements.
“Our farmers are ambitious and they have the skills and natural resource base from which to rise to meet future challenges. We see opportunities to increase our self-sufficiency by producing more high quality food here in Wales, securing new export markets and becoming producers of the most climate friendly food in the world by becoming net zero emitters of greenhouse gases by 2040.”
Mr Davies concluded: “I know Brexit is set to dominate our agenda for some time, but I don’t want it to crowd out other pressing rural issues which need addressing including rural crime, supply chain transparency and fairness and poor rural connectivity, issues which I have taken the opportunity to raise with guests tonight.
“I am really pleased to see such a fantastic turnout of Welsh MPs from all political parties here this afternoon, and I look forward to working with them over the course of the next Parliament.”