Mr Davies said:
“This year I was incredibly proud to announce that 91% of Farmers in Wales were paid under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) on the first day of the payment period. That is more farmers receiving payment on day one than ever before and the best performance of all the UK countries and I would like to thank my officials for the hard work that they have put in to ensure this outcome.
“We are making good progress towards delivering online systems for farmers in Wales. A pilot exercise is now underway and over 90 farmers, agents and farming representatives have access to this pilot service. The online service has been designed and developed in collaboration with the farming industry. It will allow farmers to view customer information, basic maps, and correspondence sent and received from Rural Payments Wales.
”From July 2013, all farmers and agents in Wales will have access to the system and from 2014 Single Application Form applications will be available online. I am really pleased that this important pilot is now underway and I’m sure many farmers will take advantage of the online service when it is fully up and running in 2013.
“This year I have attended some of the most prestigious events in the Welsh and international culinary calendar. Food is a part of our culture and heritage that helps to define who we are and strengthen the social bonds between us. And the food and drink industry is a vital part of the Welsh economy.
“I believe the challenge for the food & drink sector in partnership with the Welsh Government is translating the success of Welsh food culture into the type of growth from which jobs and wealth are generated. Consumer confidence in our excellent produce is riding high and I intend to build on that during 2013."
Mr Davies added:
“At the end of this very busy year I welcomed the agreement reached in Brussels to establish fishing opportunities for 2013. The agreement on fishing quotas represents an important building block in the measures the Welsh Government is putting in place to support the Welsh fishing industry.
"I am pleased that the negotiations resulted in continuing fishing opportunities for our fisheries industry. During the negotiations I argued, in particular, against a significant cut proposed by the Commission for underutilised quota. In the final deal, I have secured fishing opportunities that are much more closely aligned with the science and this has achieved levels close to that of 2012.”
“Structural Funds and Rural Development programmes (RDP) will continue to be a key priority of mine in 2013. I have been pressing the case for Wales to reinforce the message that priority needs to be given to the less developed regions of the EU, including regions in richer member states, like West Wales and the Valleys. I am determined to negotiate a fair deal for our region, so our specific needs are recognised by the UK in its EU budget negotiations for 2014-2020.
“While exact funding allocations are likely to be confirmed in the coming months, the Welsh Government will be holding a series of engagement events across Wales to consult with as wide an audience as possible.
“It is more important than ever for Welsh partners, from across all sectors, to work together to ensure that any future EU funding in Wales shapes the conditions for smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. In other words, making sure that it reaches the people who need it most and in areas where we can maximise its impact."