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Farming

FUW welcomes WG Brexit paper

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Brexit needs a framework for Wales: Glyn Roberts, FUW

THE FARMERS’ UNION OF WALES has welcomed the white paper on Brexit launched by Welsh Government First Minister Carwyn Jones and the leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood.

The joint Welsh Brexit plan calls for continued participation in the Single Market, as well as a ‘balanced approach’ to immigration, linking migration to jobs.

First Minister Carwyn Jones stated that the paper ‘balances the message which the Welsh people gave us’ of the Brexit vote ‘with the economic reality that makes participation in the Single Market so important for the future prosperity of Wales, and indeed the UK as a whole’.

FUW President Glyn Roberts responded to the plans, saying: “I welcome the stance taken by Welsh Government in their Brexit white paper, which acknowledges that ‘continued participation in the Single Market to support the future prosperity of Wales’ is essential.

“The livestock producers which make up the vast majority of Welsh farmers are particularly reliant on exports to the continent, and the FUW has made it clear since the referendum that full and unfettered access is essential to Wales.

“Around 30% of Welsh lambs were exported to continental Europe, and the complexity of pan-EU food supply chains means there are acute threats for other sectors.”

The Brexit white paper also call on the UK Government to make good on promises that Wales would not lose funding as a result of Brexit, as well as calling for recognition that there needs to be a ‘fundamentally different’ relationship between the devolved governments and the UK Government.

The FUW has continually stressed that a transition period of at least 10 years is necessary in order to phase in and allow the industry to adjust to new agricultural policies post-Brexit and, in addition, has argued that agricultural support following our exit from the European Union should be maintained at levels which at least reflect those levels which would have been in place should the UK have voted to remain in the EU.

Furthermore, recognising the different role the Welsh and devolved administrations have to play has been welcomed recently by the FUW.

Speaking about the role the Welsh Government should play in negotiating our exit from the EU, Mr Roberts said: “Devolution should be respected within an overarching UK support framework in the context of making our withdrawal from the European Union and, as such, we welcomed Theresa May’s commitment to work with the devolved administrations and her recognition that Wales is different to the rest of the UK. That call has today been mirrored by Welsh Government and we will continue to work with them to develop a framework that takes Wales’ unique position into account.”

A third of Wales’ population live in rural areas where farming and businesses which rely on agriculture play an important role in local economies; in sparsely populated areas, where centres of population have less than 2,000 people, around 10% of workers are employed in agriculture. That equivalent to 14% of those employed outside the public sector.

“Taking these figures into consideration, the FUW has highlighted for many years the wider role agriculture plays in terms of supporting Wales’ rural and wider economy and that’s why we are stressing the fact that agriculture needs to be allowed to adjust to new policies post-Brexit and that support is maintained in line with other EU countries.

“The chances of a bad trade deal or no deal at all increase the faster the UK Government proceeds, which is why the FUW has consistently called for a lengthy transition period. Otherwise we risk being like lemmings rushing towards a cliff edge.”

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Farming

Shoppers prefer to buy Welsh

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Welsh produce: Known for good quality

EIGHT out of 10 Welsh shoppers believe food and drink from Wales is Great Quality, Great Tasting and they would always buy Welsh if the price is right.

These are some of the key findings of a new report by Food and Drink Wales on the ‘Value of Welshness’.

Shoppers outside of Wales believe Wales is known for good quality food and drink and would like to support Welsh food and drink. 29% would like to see more Welsh food and drink in their shops.

Wales is more associated with naturalness than GB.

The scope for growth in Welsh products is substantial and there is strong shopper support for food and drink from Wales. The evidence suggests Welsh branding sits well with, and enhances GB branding.

Promoting Welsh food and drink, both nationally and globally, is a top priority for the Welsh Government and increasing numbers of Welsh brands are being recognised around the world. This was highlighted by the recent BlasCymru / TasteWales event, which featured buyers from as far afield as Hong Kong, the UAE and the USA.

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths welcomed the findings of the report. She said: “In recent years Welsh food and drink has gained a growing and well-deserved reputation for uniqueness and high quality. This is reflected in the fact 14 Welsh food and drink products have now been awarded coveted ‘Protected Food Name’ status.

“We have an ambitious target to grow the industry by 30% to £7b by 2020. Although there are undoubtedly major challenges ahead, not least our impending exit from the European Union, I am confident we can overcome them if we continue to promote the unique, special nature of our produce.

“This report shows there is strong support for food and drink from Wales and there are definite benefits for Welsh brands by using ‘Welshness’ to enhance their proposition inside and outside of Wales.”

Andy Richardson, Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board said: “It is very encouraging for us as an Industry Board to see that this research highlights the importance of Welsh provenance and underpins the confidence we have in our food and drink sector. We are proud of what our businesses produce and the research findings from the Value of Welshness is testimony that consumers feel the same.”

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Farming

PGI Welsh Beef asks ‘are you beef body ready?’

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Dan Lydiate: Face of the 2017 PGI Welsh Beef advertising campaign

PGI W​ELSH BEEF has launched a new marketing campaign featuring Wales international rugby union player Dan Lydiate to promote a more ‘real world’ approach to health and strength.

The campaign subverts the contentious ‘are you beach body ready?’ advert, which caused a storm of controversy following its appearance across London tube stations in 2015. The original campaign, launched by a protein supplement brand, was accused of promoting unhealthy body image and this campaign looks to demonstrate how a natural diet can improve health.

Nutritional therapist, Sharon Ling Dip NT mBANT & CNHC comments: “Our bodies need the correct combination of protein, carbohydrates and fats to function well. Protein, in particular, is essential for growth and repair in the body and is a key building block for bones, muscles, cartilage and skin.

“Lean, red meat is a good source of dietary protein and when eaten in moderation, can form part of a healthy diet. It contains a number of essential B vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium.

“An advantage of grass-fed beef is that it tends to be lower in overall fat, with a slightly higher proportion of omega 3 than conventionally fed cattle. It also tends to be higher in vitamin E and beta-carotene which improves its overall nutrient profile.”

Lydiate, who prior to his top level rugby career grew up on a farm in Llandrindod Wells, appears in traditional farming attire in front of a herd of Welsh Beef cattle, alongside the strapline ‘are you beef body ready?’

Shot at Vians Hill Farm in Vale of Glamorgan, the new advert will feature on outdoor advertising space in Cardiff during the Autumn Internationals, and as part of a digital campaign on PGI Welsh Beef’s Facebook page and Twitter profile. This will include an opportunity for people to win tickets for Wales’ final Autumn International against South Africa, by filling in the blank in the sentence “I need to be #BeefBodyReady because ___”. Example answers might include ‘I eat Welsh Beef’, or ‘I work a 12-hour shift before coming home to feed my three children.’

The digital campaign additionally promotes content on eatwelshbeef.com, with commentary from nutritional therapist, Sharon Ling and information on how Welsh Beef can be featured as a source of protein in a healthy diet.

Rhys Llywelyn, Market Development Manager at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), commented, “There are so many ‘protein added’ products on the market. We wanted to highlight that with Welsh Beef, protein comes as standard. This campaign provided us with a fun and light-hearted approach to supporting the benefits of a healthy and balanced diet that includes Welsh Beef. Dan was the ideal candidate to front our campaign, where his farming background and profession perfectly embody real world health and strength.”

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Farming

Success against ‘late blight’

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New Maris Piper cross: Resistant to blight

A POTATO modified to resist the devastating disease ‘late blight’ has proven a brilliant success, says BBSRC-funded scientists based at Norwich Research Park.

The team, led by Professor Jonathan Jones and part of BBSRC’s Horticulture and Potato Initiative (HAPI), have introduced a blight-resistant gene from a wild potato to its close relative, the popular Maris Piper.

Blight is a globally serious problem. It was a significant contributor to the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s and, in the 20th century, became the subject of biological weapons research owing to its ability to utterly decimate crops.

“The first year of the Maris Piper field trial has worked brilliantly,” said Professor Jones. “We’ve observed resistance to late blight in all the lines.”

Crop losses due to late blight are still significant, and with an increasing global population with complex nutritional needs, greater steps are needed to be taken in order to improve agricultural sustainability and food security.

“We have the technology to solve the problems that affect many people’s livelihoods,” said Professor Jones. “Crop diseases reduce yields and require application of agri-chemicals, and this field trial shows that a more sustainable agriculture is possible.”

This new blight-resistant gene introduced to the Maris Piper offers the promise of furthering its crop strength, and even the possibility of avoiding the use of chemical fungicides in its cultivation altogether.

First introduced in 1966, the Maris Piper was the result of a potato breeding programme based in Cambridge. The key benefit of this ‘new’ potato was its resistance to potato cyst nematodes. Now fairly common in UK supermarkets, the Maris Piper is considered a good ‘all-rounder’, and is particularly popular for making chips and crisps.

Field trials at Norwich are continuing, and next year the team will begin to explore the genetic traits that can improve tuber quality. The team hope to produce a crop that is less prone to bruise damaging – a problem that currently causes losses of around £200 per hectare – and help improve the quality and sustainability of the UK’s potato crop.

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