NFU Cymru has asked the First Minister of Wales to make funding support available to farmers hit by severe supply chain disruption, enabling them to continue feeding the nation during the Coronavirus crisis.
As the country battles against the very serious and unprecedented threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic, NFU Cymru has written to the First Minister of Wales, the Right Honourable Mark Drakeford AM, to provide assurances that farmers in Wales are doing their utmost to ensure the continual supply of safe, high quality, traceable food through this global health emergency.
In his letter, NFU Cymru President John Davies also urged the First Minister to ensure Welsh Government’s recently announced Economic Resilience Fund was available to support farmers impacted by significant disruption in the food supply chain.
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “There can be no doubt that recent weeks have highlighted the central role that food producers play in the everyday lives of each and every one of us. The complexity and vulnerability of our food supply chains has also been brought into sharp focus.
“NFU Cymru is doing everything possible to ensure primary producers are able to continue producing food and that supermarket shelves remain stocked. However, with the severe disruptions in the supply chain which have followed a very difficult winter, we are starting to see impacts to cashflow across a range of farming sectors with the resilience of many farm businesses now being challenged. Farm diversification activities have also been hard hit by COVID-19 impacts.
“Given the Covid-19-related impacts already being felt by the industry, NFU Cymru is absolutely clear that support from government is going to be critical if farmers are to continue in their vital role producing food for the nations through the crisis and beyond.
“To enable this NFU Cymru has asked that Welsh Government ring-fence for farming the 15% pillar transfer of approximately £45m announced last December for distribution to farm businesses as a top-up to the Basic Payment Scheme later this year.
“NFU Cymru has also emphasised that it is vital that farm businesses impacted by Covid-19-related market disruption are able to access the Economic Resilience Fund, announced by Welsh Government this week, to support the Welsh economy.
“NFU Cymru has also asked Welsh Government to consider options for market support measures that may be required to help stabilise markets for key agricultural products.”
Concluding, Mr Davies said: “The farming sector stands ready to do all it can to keep the nation fed during this time of crisis. NFU Cymru would be pleased to work with government on the development of the framework of support that is going to be vital for farming in the coming months recognising our key role as food producers and also in underpinning economic resilience across rural Wales.”