2018-08-03 

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NFU Cymru Welcomes EC Clarity on Drought Support

The European Commission statement on the range of support measures that can be implemented to help farmers deal with current and ongoing issues associated with this summer’s drought has been welcomed by NFU Cymru.

John Davies, NFU Cymru President said:
“Today the European Commission has announced a range of measures that countries can implement. These include the option to bring forward advance payments for direct payments and rural development programmes to mid October 2018. The Commission has also clarified that governments have the option to provide financial support for fodder aid without breaking state aid rules.

Drought

“This clarity that we have received today from the European Commission on what individual countries are able to provide in terms of support to their farmers, is to be welcomed. It gives the opportunity for our Cabinet Secretary to implement a comprehensive package of measures in Wales that can support farmers to deal with the current and future problems, caused as a result of the unprecedented weather we have seen these past few weeks.

“It has now been a week since the emergency summit at the Royal Welsh Show, and I don’t feel the statement issued by Welsh Government yesterday fully addressed the issues that were highlighted at the summit. Despite the welcomed rain over the last few days, the challenges on Welsh farms remain as serious today as they were last week, with farmers continuing to struggle with what has been one of the longest periods of dry weather in years, on the back of an extremely challenging winter and spring.

“The Cabinet Secretary has committed to explore what measures the Government could introduce to support the industry, in the immediate, medium and longer term. A number of other countries across Europe have fully recognised the difficulties their farmers are suffering and have already put a comprehensive package of support measures in place. Now that the Commission has provided clear advice on what can be supported, we hope that Welsh Government will properly assess all options available to them in order to make a tangible difference on farms.

“Of course whilst Government can provide support to the industry, we also recognise that dealing with the current situation is something that we, as individual farmers and as an industry, need to tackle by working together. At NFU Cymru we have a package of advice and support available on our website, we have our NFU Fodder Bank looking to put people with spare fodder in touch with those who don’t, and we are working with colleagues in other parts of the UK to encourage our arable farmers to bale straw wherever possible.

“A recent You Gov survey, commissioned by NFU Cymru, showed that over 80% of consumers in Wales supported the idea of a new domestic agricultural policy providing support for farmers to continue supplying safe, high quality, fully traceable food to the nation. In an ever more volatile world, where extreme weather alongside other global challenges will become more frequent, it is vital that future policy in Wales helps ensure that Welsh farmers can continue to deliver, safe, quality and fully traceable food that the consumer expects from us."

NFU Cymru

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