Opening the NFU Cymru ‘Food at the heart of our future’ breakout session at NFU19, NFU Cymru President John Davies said the industry had the chance to reinforce Wales’ position as a world-leading brand synonymous with high quality, sustainable food production.
- John Davies, President, NFU Cymru
- Kevin Roberts, Chairman, HCC
- Dr Tim Render, Lead Director for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government
- Dafydd Jones, Chairman, Wales YFC
- Andy Richardson, Chairman, Welsh Government, Food & Drink Board
Chaired by John Mercer, Director, NFU Cymru
Mr Davies also used his speech to urge Welsh Government to work with the industry to design a new Welsh agricultural policy that leads on food production and enables the sector to realise its ambitions.
Watch: Mr Davies' speech in full:
Addressing NFU Conference attendees, Mr Davies said:
“We have a unique opportunity to come together to position Wales as a country of high quality food production underpinned by a strong natural asset base under the Brand Wales umbrella. We have an opportunity to market and promote the full range of goods and services that Welsh farmers provide; food, environment, landscape and tourism.
“I look to Welsh Government to show ambition and to work with NFU Cymru in genuine partnership to deliver a post-Brexit agricultural policy in Wales that has food production at its heart. We want to develop a truly comprehensive and fully integrated policy providing stability to help family farming businesses so that they can drive their businesses forward; delivering efficient food production systems, meeting our climate change obligations whilst maintaining and enhancing our environment."
“I am immensely proud to be part of the 52,000 people in Wales working our land every day to provide the raw material for our Welsh food and drink industry, worth just shy of £7 billion and employing over 240,000 people. I would like to praise the work of Andy Richardson and the Welsh Food & Drink Board for leading a sector on the cusp of achieving its ambitious 30% growth target.
“With a new food and drink strategy in development and work ongoing on a post-Brexit agricultural policy, this is the opportunity to bring our agriculture and food strategies together, agreeing targets for sustainable growth and ensuring full alignment of policy and growth targets from farm to fork.
Mr Davies said:
“I can’t hide my frustration and concern for how the next few weeks will pan out and the potential consequences of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit for our sector. It pains me to consider the damage it could do to our industry and our communities, especially when I know the potential and opportunity that we have to continue to deliver for Wales.
“I want us to be totally focussed on working with our research institutes pushing the boundaries on technology, breeding and genetics; working with our colleges and universities to educate and challenge our next generation to drive our industry forward; collaborating with our levy bodies to grow market share for our fantastic produce and working with our Government to put in place an enabling policy and regulatory framework.
“I firmly believe that by doing this we have a unique opportunity to deliver a productive, progressive and profitable food and farming industry for Wales.”