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Post-Brexit land management debate launched in Wales

Words: Roger Milne
Farming in Wales / iStock-164642982

Cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs Lesley Griffiths has fired the starting pistol on a debate about land management in Wales post-Brexit.

She announced a number of core principles that underpinned her vision for a new policy. These included the need to keep farmers on the land and to keep the sector financially viable.

“Welsh land must be managed by those who know it. We need to ensure our agricultural sector can be prosperous and resilient in a post-Brexit future, whatever that may be.”

Griffiths, who also heads up responsibility for planning, added: “Our new policy should centre on Welsh land delivering public goods for all the people of Wales. Our system of support should be accessible to all. That means giving farmers the opportunity to continue to make a living from the land. We must not turn our backs on food production. Where sustainable production is viable, we must help our farmers compete in a global marketplace.”

Her comments came as the administration published a Brexit scenarios report, which highlighted a tough time for much of fishing and agriculture post-Brexit. Sheep farming would be particularly hard hit, the dairy and poultry sectors less so.

The Welsh environment sector was reckoned to be a potential growth area in term of eco-tourism through landscapes and seascape. “Wales is rich in natural capital but investment is needed to develop new markets and to develop the skills the sector needs."

The report insisted that both farming and fishing businesses in Wales need to improve productivity and efficiency, and consider other income streams to stay viable.

“This will require improved business skills and investment in infrastructure” stressed the report.

Summary of EU Exit Scenario Planning Workshops can be found here on the Welsh Government website (pdf).

Image credit | iStock