New Year Brings Fresh Debates on the CAP and Moorlands Payments; Thousands of Welsh Farmers Rely on Their Unions to Represent Their Views and Financial Needs. in Their New Year Messages, the Unions' Presidents Admit That Uncertainty over the Common Agricultural Policy and the Abolition of the 400-Metre Moorland Line Will Both Continue to Dominate Debates as We Enter 2015

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 6, 2015 | Go to article overview

New Year Brings Fresh Debates on the CAP and Moorlands Payments; Thousands of Welsh Farmers Rely on Their Unions to Represent Their Views and Financial Needs. in Their New Year Messages, the Unions' Presidents Admit That Uncertainty over the Common Agricultural Policy and the Abolition of the 400-Metre Moorland Line Will Both Continue to Dominate Debates as We Enter 2015


Byline: STEPHEN JAMES NFU Cymru president

STEPHEN JAMES NFU Cymru president THE year 2014 ended as it started, with uncertainty in the farming industry as to how the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) would be distributed across Wales from 2015.

Throughout the entire Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform process, NFU Cymru has consistently argued for a policy solution that seeks to minimise disruption as much as possible in the move from historic to area-based payments. NFU Cymru has stressed to Welsh Government the importance of reconsidering all the options available under the European Union regulations, to help inform its new consultation.

As well as a differentiated payment rate system, consideration should also be given to the approach to CAP direct payments adopted in Ireland, the so-called 'tunnel approach', which seeks to limit the losses for farmers in the transition towards an area-based payment.

Once the Welsh Government comes forward with a new set of options, NFU Cymru will consult widely with our membership to ensure that our response takes account of the views of members across all regions and all sectors of agriculture in Wales.

Since the new Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans, took over the reins in July, we have welcomed the constructive and positive dialogue that we have had with her and her team.

She has highlighted her intention to produce an Agriculture Strategy for Wales in 2015 and NFU Cymru looks forward to this being developed in a genuine partnership, to help achieve our goal of a productive and profitable agriculture industry in Wales.

This strategy must come forward with some key actions and targets, tying in wherever possible with the ambitious targets set within the Food Strategy launched last summer.

Once these actions and targets are identified, then all policies, schemes and projects must work towards delivering against the strategy.

The Wales Rural Development Programme (RDP) can play an integral role in delivering on the Agriculture Strategy.

For this to happen we need to see schemes and projects developed that offer clear farmer benefit, ensure high levels of uptake and participation, which are easily accessible and adequately resourced.

Price volatility has impacted upon all sectors of agriculture in Wales in 2014.

While the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) does help farming businesses to manage volatility, this support is changing and levels of support are declining.

We continue to meet with processors and retailers to stress the importance of working with farmers on long-term supply chain relationships that seek, wherever possible, to reduce exposure to the ups and downs of global commodity markets.

This year will see a Westminster General Election and I see this as an opportunity for all our political parties to reaffirm their commitment to the work of the Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA).

I will be looking to see the powers and resource given to the GCA increased, so that the GCA can investigate all links in the supply chain to drive out unfair trading practices.

EMYR JONES Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) president AS the FUW approaches its 60th anniversary, we look back on a year in which falls in farmgate prices and income from the CAP has had a severe impact on farm incomes. …

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New Year Brings Fresh Debates on the CAP and Moorlands Payments; Thousands of Welsh Farmers Rely on Their Unions to Represent Their Views and Financial Needs. in Their New Year Messages, the Unions' Presidents Admit That Uncertainty over the Common Agricultural Policy and the Abolition of the 400-Metre Moorland Line Will Both Continue to Dominate Debates as We Enter 2015
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