Home Economic Redevelopment 28 06 17 The Future of Agricultural and Rural Development Policies in Wales

28 06 17 The Future of Agricultural and Rural Development Policies in Wales

Great. Well, good luck with that one. I hope that the European Union is listening. We would all love that kind of situation to be one that is delivered. We will see what is possible.
I think there’s a whole load of issues that need to be considered in the light of Brexit, but I think one thing is clear and that is that we will cease to be a part of the common agricultural policy under any new model that we are part of. So, unless we get our ducks in a row pretty quickly, that’s likely to lead to massive instability and insecurity for vast numbers of people living in our rural communities. And the clock is ticking.
I hope members of the committee will forgive me as I’m not going to focus on what is good in the report, which I must emphasise is excellent, but on aspects of policy that perhaps have not been given the attention that I think they deserve in the report. I believe that, like the Government in Ireland, we should be preparing for a worst-case scenario: one where we fall off a cliff and have to resort to WTO rules. It’s clearly not a desirable situation, but one for which I think we should be prepared. I think if this were to happen, it would be imperative for the farming community to shift from an industry that focuses on supply to one that focuses on demand. There’s almost no mention in the report of the need, or the possibility, of adding value to raw produce. Whilst processing food is done to an extent in Wales, the scope for expansion is absolutely enormous