CAP changes could be 'catastrophic' to Welsh dairy industry

CAP changes could be 'catastrophic' to Welsh dairy industry
1st Nov 2011

 

THE Farmers Union of Wales is urging the Welsh Government to carry out urgent impact assessments to ensure dairy producing areas are not devastated by what could be ‘catastrophic’ changes to the Common Agricultural Policy. Reports the Farmers guardian.
 
It fears the dairy industry in Wales could be severely hit unless there is an in-depth look at a range of flat-rate single payment models and the effects they would have on farm incomes.
“Failure to prepare properly for the post-2013 changes could mean financial collapse in many of the most productive dairying areas across Wales,” says Dei Davies, the union’s newly-elected milk committee chairman.
 
“The draft CAP proposals would have a severe impact on dairy farms if implemented in their current form, so it is essential the Welsh Government establishes an evidence base which can be used to show Europe why they need to be changed.
“There is also a desperate need to look at the impact of different flat-rate models on entire constituencies within Wales where dairy farming is prevalent and makes a key contribution to local employment.”
 
Under the current proposals every farm business within a region would ultimately receive the same payment for every hectare of land they farmed, though it was likely Wales would be able to define different regions with different payment rates.
 
“Work done by the FUW has shown that average total payments to upland and lowland farm businesses are currently very similar, but lowland farms are, on average, almost half the size of upland farms,” says Mr Davies.
 
“This means that failure by the Welsh Government to investigate and implement an appropriate definition of ‘region’ would result in entire constituencies in Wales losing tens of millions, with catastrophic consequences to communities, food production and local employment.
 
“The Welsh Government has 21 months before it notifies Europe of its intentions and must ensure no stone has been left unturned in the search for a model which is appropriate for Welsh agriculture as a whole or we will be backed into a corner and forced to make catastrophic decisions because essential ground work has not been done.
 
“It is critical that our Deputy Minister is able negotiate while having all the facts and figures at his disposal. He should not be going into meetings empty-handed.”
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