The FUW recently met with the Welsh Brexit Minister, Jeremy Miles AM, to reiterate the Union’s long-standing position that food production and caring for the environment can, and do, go hand in hand.
At present, around 40% of the food that is being consumed in this country is imported and a fifth of the fresh foods imported come from areas that are threatened with climate chaos.
The FUW believes that farmers here in Wales are the answer to that problem. Welsh farmers support local livestock markets, maintain the local rural economy, support local jobs, are custodians of the environment and produce healthy, safe and traceable food.
The UK has a target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, yet our food system is vulnerable and dominated by complex global supply chains. Our farmers have the knowledge, skill, and willingness to produce sustainable food, that works in harmony with the environment but this could be hindered by over zealous policies which do not recognise or value the fact that food production and environmental protection can operate side by side.
In order to safeguard the environment and protect domestic food security, the FUW believes that there is merit in food that has been produced locally; food that has been produced in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
By supporting countries who produce food to standards that would be illegal in this country, there is a danger of displacing adverse climate impacts to other countries whilst simultaneously over-regulating and hindering our domestic producers and reducing domestic food production.
The environmental audit committee has only recently called on the UK Government to set out a clear plan for how the UK’s food supplies could be protected from climate emergency and explain how food might be affected by Brexit, as well as asking Ministers to ensure that food provided by the Government is “sustainable by default”.
Welsh producers continue to look for ways to positively contribute to nature, exploring ways to be cleaner and greener, but they need to be allowed to do their job.