Future for sustainable farming in Wales outlined in vision that supports farmers reverse decline in biodiversity

A vision for a sustainable future for farming and agriculture in Wales has been unveiled, outlining how farmers will be supported in order to produce food sustainably, as well as reversing a decline in biodiversity.

Under plans revealed by Welsh rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths, a 15-20 year roadmap for Welsh farming and agriculture aims to maintain high food safety, animal welfare and environmental standards.

The Welsh Government white paper outlines how farmers will be supported to produce food in a sustainable way. The plans will also enable farmers to respond to the climate emergency and to help reverse the decline in biodiversity – addressing the Welsh Government’s three key objectives for the sector.

Proposals will see the replacement of the current basic payment scheme and agri-environment schemes with a new sustainable farming scheme. The scheme will place a proper value on the environmental outcomes farmers deliver (improved soils, clean air, clean water, improved biodiversity, actions to reduce global warming) alongside sustainable food production.

New national minimum standards for agriculture will be created and consulted upon, backed up by a new enforcement regime.

The proposals have been outlined ahead of an Agriculture (Wales) Bill which will be introduced in the next Senedd term.

Launching the white paper, Mrs Griffiths said: “Leaving the EU provides us with an opportunity to develop a system of agricultural support which is tailored for Wales. We have consulted and engaged widely over the last two years and today’s white paper sets out our long term vision to take this forward and introduce the necessary legislation.

“We want to support Welsh farmers to thrive, produce sustainable food and contribute to the climate emergency. The scale of the challenges that confront us means we need to act decisively now so we can ensure rural communities will continue to benefit from our support for years to come.

“Our proposals will mark a radical shift away from the CAP [The Common Agricultural Policy is the agricultural policy of the European Union] to sustain a productive agriculture sector in Wales that supports the rural economy whilst improving the condition of soil, air, water and habitats.”

The white paper is open for consultation until 25 March 2021.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.

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