Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement on direct payments to farmers in Wales from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Plaid Cymru AM Llyr Gruffydd, Shadow Agriculture Minister, said:
“From the outset Plaid Cymru has urged the Minister to introduce changes to CAP in a way that minimises the financial disruption to Welsh farmers as far as is possible. It was therefore disappointing that he recently announced the maximum 15% transfer out of direct payments to farmers into the Rural Development Scheme.
“Today’s announcement is better news and the Minister has been truer to his word. There is no doubt that the proposed changes will still bring a number of challenges to many in the industry in Wales, particularly the transition from headage to area based payments, but on the whole this is a pragmatic and as palatable an outcome as could have been expected.
“The three land region model helps reduce financial disruption but there is still a lot of detail to be confirmed. For example, the exact payment rates farmers will receive will not become clear until the level of total demand is known in 2015.
“The Minister tells us that the Kevin Roberts Resilience Review has influenced many of his decisions. It is therefore regrettable that the findings of the review were not available to inform the wider public debate preceding today’s announcement. This is also true of the imminent consultation on the proposed Rural Development Plan.
“It is now essential that the Welsh Government does everything possible to ensure that farmers in Wales are properly informed of the implications for their businesses and that all necessary support is provided to facilitate as smooth a transition as possible.”
Plaid Cymru the Party of Wales MEP Jill Evans Jill Evans MEP added:
“Plaid Cymru voted against the cuts in the EU budget because it meant cuts in the money coming to Wales. We believe that the farming industry is crucial to the economy and needs a viable and sustainable long term future
“EU funding through the CAP accounts for 80% of farm income in Wales, and supports over 16,000 farmers. The Labour Party voted for a reduction in CAP payments and for big cuts in the budget. We warned that this would lead to cuts in support for agriculture. Our priority now must be to work with the farming community in the interests of our food producers and our rural communities.”