Wales could be an organic food nation in a decade that will be the message from Plaid Cymru representatives as they will meet with farm representatives this Thursday on a farm in Llanybri Carmarthenshire.
The Welsh Government is currently consulting on the future of farm payments, with proposals to put a new system in place by 2025.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said:
“I’m announcing this week a target to make Wales 30 per cent organic by 2030. As a small country, Wales could emphasise its distinctiveness by selling itself as an organic food nation. A radical response is needed to the possibility of Brexit. We can use a new farm payment scheme to encourage and enable farmers to convert to organic farming.
“There also needs to be a strategic marketing campaign aimed at selling organic Welsh produce overseas and in the rest of the UK. The UK was the third biggest market for organic produce in 2015, which means that Wales could find a large, accessible market for organic goods, despite what the Brexit process throws at us.
“We know that every pound spent from the Rural Development Plan on organic produces £21 in trade for organics in Wales, bringing £140million into the economy of our nation every year. If we are unable to meet growing demand there is a risk that we could lose not only potential producers but also prominent Welsh organic companies who may choose to expand nearer their supply chain.”
“There is a concern that with the current consultation on farm support by the Labour led government in Wales that it is breaking the link between wholesome food production and the ongoing support of payments. I believe food production is in itself a public good along with the associated environmental benefits.
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster spokesperson on Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Ceredigion MP Ben Lake added:
“Welsh agriculture and particularly livestock farms are heavily dependent on income from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. While it is true to say that CAP has had its flaws, it has been very important to many Welsh farmers, and this must be acknowledged. In the short term ongoing financial support will be essential to sustain the agricultural sector in Wales.
“The Plaid Cymru group of MPs will continue to hold Westminster’s feet to the fire to ensure Wales receives a fair share of funding for agricultural support. Before the committee stage of the Agricultural Bill in the House of Commons – the Conservative government must agree with the devolved administrations a mechanism for future allocations of funding for agricultural support.”
Organic farming is currently measured based on percentage of agricultural land, rather than percentage of agricultural producers or products.
Measuring the percentage of land use would also help assess the sustainable use of agricultural land.
Read the report here.