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FUW urges family farm priority in CAP reform



THE future of the family farm must be a major priority of a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Farmers’ Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan told AMs at the National Assembly today.

Presenting the union’s evidence to the Assembly rural development sub-committee’s inquiry into reform of the CAP, he said: “I would like to thank you for holding this inquiry into one of the most important issues facing the agricultural industry in Wales over the coming years.

“However, I believe that our evidence shows that the future of the CAP is not just of importance to Welsh agriculture but also to our wider communities – to the very backbone of our rural economy and to every Welsh citizen.”

In 2005, the Treasury and Defra published A Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy, setting out the UK Governments vision for EU agricultural policy to 2020.

The key policy reforms proposed included: alignment of import tariffs for all agricultural sectors with other sectors of the economy; abolition of production subsidies; abolition of price and direct income support measures; and abolition of export subsidies.

Following publication of the policy, the UK Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) was commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government and other administrations to analyse the impact of these key reform proposals on agriculture in Wales and the other devolved regions. The results, published in July 2009, revealed significant adverse impacts for Welsh agriculture and rural communities.

“To look at the possible worst case outcome of CAP reform for Wales we need look no further than the policies of the previous UK Government and the impact of these as predicted by FAPRI,” said Mr Vaughan.

“Their work concludes that scaling down agricultural support and opening up our markets will have dramatic consequences for Welsh agriculture, rural employment and our rural communities.

“Such a watering down of the CAP would also mean abandoning our food security and deconstructing a framework which would otherwise be instrumental in tackling the key challenges of our age – namely, mitigating climate change without undermining food production.

“The FUW believes that to address these issues we need a robust CAP which is funded at a level that reflects the importance of these challenges and above all has the future of the family farm at its core,” Mr Vaughan added.

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