Shropshire Star

Supply chain concerns heard at NFU Cymru meeting

A meeting of nearly 100 different supply chain organisations has heard concerns at how the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme proposals may impact beyond the farm gate.

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones. Credit: Lawrence Looi / NFU

The meeting was hosted at NFU Cymru headquarters at the Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd and attracted around 40 companies in person with another 60 joining virtually.

There were a wide range of organisations and companies represented including agricultural contractors, vets, academic institutions, farming charities, legal firms and trade associations, as well as major meat, milk and food service companies based and operating in Wales.

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said: “The food and farming supply chain is an £8 billion industry in Wales that employs some 233,000 people, Wales’ biggest employer. As a sector we are completely interlinked with each part of the supply chain relying on the other for their viability.

“A productive, progressive and profitable Welsh farming sector is essential to the wider supply chain, farmers spend around £1.4bn annually on products such as feed, fertiliser, veterinary and medicines, farm machinery and contract work. The produce from our farms is processed and sold in retail and food service markets in Wales, across the UK and globally.

“What was clear from our meeting is that all the businesses present are proud to be part of the Welsh food and farming supply chain, they contribute enormously to the prosperity and well-being of Wales and they share an ambition to further grow the sector in Wales.

"We have a fantastic food and drink sector in Wales that makes the most of the quality and value of the climate friendly food produced by Welsh farmers. The supply chain companies reliant on those raw materials do not want to see the primary producers undermined.

“There was widespread concern at the impact the proposed SFS could have on the entire supply chain, with Welsh Government’s own impact assessment predicting a £200m hit to farm income and around 11 per cent less livestock in Wales, every business could see the negative consequences this could potentially have for their businesses and employment in the sector.

“Less income on farm will mean less buying power, with a knock-on effect for the agri-supply chain. Less production on farm will impact on our critical mass and could place a question mark over the long-term viability of our processing industry in Wales.

“The future prosperity of the agri-food supply chain is not just an issue for rural Wales, the sector has successful thriving businesses the length and breadth of Wales, located in and employing people from rural and urban Wales. The consequences of a Sustainable Farming Scheme that impacts on Welsh farming’s productive capacity will likely have a similar impact on the whole agri food supply chain.

“It is for this reason that in our meeting with the Minister last week we called for a socio-economic assessment to be undertaken that assesses the impact on Welsh farming, rural communities and the wider supply chain of the withdrawal of the BPS. Alongside this we need an assessment of the impact of the current SFS proposals on Welsh farming, rural communities and the supply chain.

“No decisions on next steps should be undertaken until this economic assessment has been completed.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.