NFU Cymru has today responded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) report on global land use and agriculture.
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “Today’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the importance of balanced diets including animal-sourced food produced in resilient, sustainable and low-GHG emission systems – systems that are very much reflective of farming in Wales where 74% of our farmland is grassland and less suited to growing of other crops.
“It is a fact that in Wales we are blessed with the natural resources to produce high quality protein in the form of meat and dairy products from grass. The climate impact of Welsh grazing is amongst the lowest in the world. Already research from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation shows that beef production in Western Europe is 2.5 times more carbon-efficient than the global average. At the same time Welsh farmland conserves important carbon stocks in Wales’s uplands and Welsh farms have significant carbon sinks, sequestering carbon in grasslands hedgerows and trees.
“As an industry we are clear there is more that we can do. Our aspiration to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions for agriculture by 2040 is just one statement of our commitment to the environment and addressing the big global challenges we all face. This will require a portfolio of policies and practices all working in combination with a focus in the key areas of improving farming’s productive efficiency to reduce GHG emissions; maintaining and enhancing farmland carbon storage in soils and vegetation – grassland, hedgerows and trees; and, boosting renewable energy and the bio-economy to avoid GHG emissions from fossil fuels.
“We are also clear that we will not halt climate change by limiting Welsh food production and off-shoring it to countries across the world, which may not have the same environmental conscience or ambition to reduce their climate impact. Such an approach would not align with Wales’s legislative framework established through the Well-Being of Future Generations Act and the goal of being a globally responsible Wales. The Paris Agreement rightly recognises the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and the future challenges to our global food production system.
“Today’s report rightly recognises the threat that climate poses on food security. Wales is expected to become an area increasingly favoured for sustainable grass-based agricultural production moving forward, when compared to other regions across the world where climate change impacts are expected to be more severe and disruptive.
“Overall Welsh agriculture contributes 12% to Wales’ total emissions and we absolutely recognise the contribution we have to make in tackling climate change at the same time as providing safe, high quality, affordable food for society, and underpinning the Welsh food and drink sector which is Wales’s biggest employer.”