That’s the message from Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths as the show’s centenary gets underway in Llanelwedd today.
It comes as the minister announces nearly a million pounds of support through the European Transition Fund to help the agricultural, fisheries and food sectors respond to the risks and opportunities of Brexit.
The funding will be used to support the sectors to be as resilient as possible through effective planning, help with mental and wellbeing issues and further develop marketing opportunities.
Later today on the showground, the minister will discuss with farmers and partner organisations the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming and Our Land proposals for future farm support after Brexit.
The new Sustainable Farming Scheme will reward farmers for environmental outcomes and will protect the land and environment for future generations.
Over the coming days, the minister will undertake over 40 events at the Royal Welsh Show, hearing the views of farmers, representatives from the food and forestry industries, unions and partner organisations.
The minister said:
“As the 100th Royal Welsh Show gets underway, there is much to celebrate about Welsh agriculture and the vital contribution it makes.
“I am absolutely clear we will continue to support farmers post-Brexit. We must also put plans in place to secure a strong future for agriculture so future generations can celebrate another 100 years of farming at the Royal Welsh Show.
“This time last year, we thought this year’s show would be the first taking place outside the European Union and we would be clearer about its impact on the industry. Yet the reality is we remain in unprecedented and increasingly uncertain times.
“This year’s show will see the announcement of the next Prime Minister and what is clear is the increasing probability of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
“I am in no doubt exiting without a deal will be catastrophic for the sector and must be avoided at all cost. However, we cannot ignore this very real prospect and must prepare for all eventualities.
“Our £50 million European Transition Fund is already helping businesses, key sectors and partner organisations prepare. I am pleased to have secured nearly a million pounds of funding through the fund, which will help support our agriculture, fisheries and food sectors respond to the risks and opportunities of Brexit.
“I recently launched our proposals for a new Sustainable farming scheme – through this new scheme farmers will be rewarded for environmental outcomes. Our proposals will help us tackle some of the biggest challenges we face today, such as climate change and reversing the decline in biodiversity, whilst also building a successful future for the sector and future generations.
“I want to use this year’s Show to speak to as many people as possible and continue our national conversation about our proposals. I am always impressed to hear first-hand how we are working together in new ways to find solutions. This is our opportunity to design a made in Wales scheme which will ensure farming has a strong and sustainable future post-Brexit.”
On Tuesday, the minister will launch a consultation on the next food and drink action plan 2020-2026, which aims to build on the success of Wales’ globally renowned sector. This will help the industry grow and respond to the challenges from Brexit.
The consultation sets out how the Welsh Government and Food and Drink Wales Industry Board will work collaboratively with the sector to achieve 3 key aims:
- developing business - to grow the sector’s scale and value, and businesses’ productivity
- benefitting our people and society - that our support and investment will help businesses provide wider benefits through fair work, developing skills and using resources sustainably
- promoting Wales as a food nation – to showcase our sector, developing and living our high standards and celebrating success
The plan includes targets and measures setting an ambitious and challenging direction for the sector.
The minister added:
“Our food and drink sector is a success story and is gaining a global reputation. We want to build on this through our new action plan. We want to create a strong and vibrant Welsh food and drink sector with global renown for excellence, with one of the most environmentally and socially responsible supply chains in the world.
“The European Transition Funding I have announced today along with our food and drink action plan are just two examples of the practical measures we are putting in place to ensure businesses and people are in as good a position as possible to thrive post-Brexit.”