More work must be done to support farmers Plaid Cymru have said after the Welsh Government today published their proposals for the new Sustainable Farming Scheme.

Plaid Cymru’s Rural Affairs Spokesperson Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said that while the Welsh Government had made more of an effort to recognise the “crucial role of active farmers as food producers”, more could be done to support them financially.

Plaid Cymru’s Rural Affairs Spokesperson Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said,

“For several years, Plaid Cymru and the agricultural sector have been making the case that food production should be an integral part of any future farming support scheme.

“It is encouraging to see a fundamental shift in emphasis in the initial proposals for the Sustainable Farming Scheme published by the Welsh Government today – the crucial role of active farmers as food producers is rightly recognised.

“As a result of Plaid Cymru’s constructive working with the Government, we have secured a number of wins for Welsh farmers in this first iteration of the Scheme including a commitment to stability payments throughout a lengthy transition period until at least 2029.  This is in recognition of the fact that for farms to be environmentally sustainable, they must be economically sustainable.

“However, there’s more work to be done and we await to see the detail that lies underneath some of these proposals.

“We share the concerns expressed about the potential loss of productive, good quality agricultural land for tree cover and about the practical feasibility of this proposal.

“This first iteration of the Scheme needs to be refined and we will try to ensure that the substance matches the change in emphasis by actively rewarding food security as an outcome of the Scheme, as well as the wider social, linguistic and economic contribution of agriculture to the sustainability of our rural communities."

“For any new scheme to be implemented the Senedd must first pass an Agriculture Bill which the Government is expected to present later this year. Working constructively with the Government we will turn our sights to the Bill – to ensure a future framework for Welsh agriculture that lives up to our aspirations and ambitions for rural Wales. In the meantime, Plaid Cymru encourages all farmers to participate in the consultation to ensure the voice of rural and agricultural Wales is heard loud and clear.”