Farmers shouldn't pay price for pandemic
Farmers shouldn't pay the price for the Covid-19 pandemic, says Plaid Cymru's shadow rural affairs minister.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru's North Wales AM, said farmers across Wales were facing cuts in the price they were receiving for milk and meat due to impact of the coronavirus crisis on the food service sector.
He has now written to rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths to demand urgent action to intervene to protect these producers: "At the time our country most needs its food producers it’s hugely concerning that many are being undermined to such an extent that they might not survive this crisis."
Mr Gruffydd added: "I urge you to outline your Government’s intended action to help protect the industry. How, for example, will you ensure all businesses in the dairy and meat supply chain, including farms, have sufficient access to funds to survive a sudden coronavirus-related fall in revenue? Will you for example clarify and communicate to farmers what business support is available in Wales to those affected by these unprecedented circumstances? Will Welsh farmers for example have access to the newly announced Economic Resilience Fund?
"We also need to understand what action you and the UK Government are taking to help rebalance demand and supply, particularly restructuring supply chains away from food service to retail in light of the recent change in demand. Also, what representations are you making to the UK Government around possible interventions in the market?"
Mr Gruffydd said uncertainty and lack of leadership was critical for this important part of the Welsh economy and farmers were growing increasingly uneasy about the failure to communicate with them. His letter concludes: "I wrote to you last week urging you to make a clear and comprehensive statement outlining what support you’re bringing forward to assist the agriculture sector in Wales in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
"We are still awaiting such a statement. In the meantime the sector is feeling increasingly neglected by a Government that has issued nothing but silence. I urge you to act now to support our agriculture sector and the wider rural economy."