Janet Dwyer was part of an academic panel yesterday (28th September), speaking at Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee in Wales on the future of agriculture and rural policies in Wales. The panel was chaired by Mark Reckless, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Member of the National Assembly for Wales, representing South Wales East.
The Committee was keen to explore some of the underlying issues about cultural support in relation to rural development and potential change with Brexit.
Mr Reckless asked Janet what she saw as the priorities for agricultural support in Wales and how that system may or may not change in the Brexit environment.
Janet replied that in the years ahead there was likely to be very uncertain situation whilst Brexit is negotiated, particularly as Welsh agriculture is heavily dependent on subsidies currently received from the Common Agricultural Policy. She outlined two priorities, which were
- to maintain a degree of stability during this period of uncertainly to avoid any major collapse of parts of the agricultural sector across Wales
- investing human capital in the future; in particular resilience and supporting the very wide range of Welsh farming and land management in Wales, ensuring that those who manage the land have the best possible knowledge and advice.
She also spoke about trying to increase the resilience of the sector through a more diverse set of linkages in the food chain to help create a positive future. She said the current EU system is complicated because of the levels of hierarchy of funding which start from Brussels and have to go down several layers before finally reaching the recipients on the ground . There is now an opportunity for freeing up these mechanisms and making them more locally appropriate and enabling people to work together to achieve their aims.