Improving our nation’s health and acting on the nature and climate emergencies can’t wait.

Farmers and communities need support to prepare for the future. 

Resolving the Sustainable Farming Scheme should be part of a long-term, national food strategy, involving the farming community, to prepare Wales for future changes that pose a threat to all of us putting food on our tables. 

Business as usual isn’t working and we must work together. High food prices mean one in five people in Wales are hungry.  

Farmers have the skills we need to ensure our food system is bettering not harming our health and well-being, and to allow nature and wildlife to thrive again. 

On the last day of the final consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme [SFS], I’m calling for Welsh Government to: 

  • Act swiftly to resolve the issues around the Sustainable Farming Scheme so that it can progress quickly to implementation stage. The nature and climate emergencies require us to take urgent action.  
  • Prepare a long-term food strategy to enable effective collaboration across our public sector and producers of healthy, made-in-Wales food and to prepare the sector for future changes that are coming. 
  • Provide farmers with security over farming incomes in the near- to mid- term and with more help to transition to a more sustainable model of farming. 

Welsh Government must act swiftly to resolve the Sustainable Farming Scheme so that it can progress quickly to implementation stage.  

The Sustainable Farming Scheme has been developed against a backdrop of nature in decline; the latest State of Nature report highlighted that one in six native species is at risk of extinction and some agriculture practices are a major driver of nature loss and of the poor health of our rivers. 

Farming is itself at risk from climate change. Extreme weather events, such as storms and droughts, are damaging crop yields and grassland and are already affecting income. 

Yet, farmers fear that climate measures such as those outlined in the Sustainable Farming Scheme would result in a loss of productive land putting further stress on their business.  

The challenge with the Sustainable Farming Scheme is to provide a robust plan to enable nature and our farming communities to thrive, together.  

Next month, I’m bringing together stakeholders in the food and farming sector, to outline the need for urgent and transformational change in our food system for the sake of how current and future generations feed ourselves. 


Wales needs a long-term plan for food. 

I’ve been calling on Welsh Government to prepare a national food plan. It needs to integrate government work on agriculture, retail, land use planning, health and procurement to ensure we sustain a viable food industry, improve public health and have a clear sense of direction for howe we manage land in the long-term. 

Our farmers need more support, right now and to help prepare for the future.  

Farming in Wales is about so much more than food production, it is a way of life. The sector supports the highest proportion of Welsh speakers of any sector and farm incomes are vital to the rural economy. The farming community must be supported to survive and be given security over farming incomes in the near-to mid-term. Farmers must also be helped to transition to a more sustainable model of farming. 

Public subsidy can only go so far, so we must look at additional ways to strengthen the income of farm businesses. This should include contracts with the Welsh public sector to ensure healthy food reaches our schools and hospitals.  

Farmers should retain more of the value of their produce through greater ownership and control of the processing, distribution and marketing of products. Retail models should share more of the profits with farmers. All of this must be part of a national food strategy that allows us to plan now how we’ll feed Wales in the long-term.