Environment Secretary champions Welsh food and farming industry

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers has this week met key members of the thriving Welsh farming, food and drink industries, while on a tour of South Wales.

In her first visit to Wales since becoming Environment Secretary, she began her visit by meeting Abi Reader, a third-generation farmer and Country Chairman of the National Farmers Union (NFU Cymru), on Goldsland Farm in Glamorganshire. While there she discussed the importance of educating young people about where their food comes from, and the opportunities for Welsh agriculture as the UK leaves the EU.

The Environment Secretary then held a roundtable with key representatives of the farming, food and drink industries, including Farmers Union of Wales, the Cardiff University Food Institute and local businesses. The discussion focused on the importance of continued support for the industries that create our food, from farm to fork, as they prepare to leave the EU.

The Environment Secretary’s visit comes as the latest export figures for Wales are published, indicating that £231.5m worth of produce has already been exported in 2019, with a 14% increase in Welsh meat compared to the same period last year.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “Wales is renowned for producing and exporting food and drink of the highest quality, from Welsh lamb to Anglesey sea salt. Ensuring these innovative and vital industries can continue to thrive is key, and leaving the EU offers the greatest opportunity in a generation to reform the way our agriculture and food industries are run.

“We will ensure Brexit works for all four corners of the UK, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with businesses across these sectors as we grasp the new opportunities on offer.”

Goldsland Farm comprises of approximately 800 acres with the main enterprise being the dairy herd but also 150 sheep. The Environment Secretary’s visit follows the recent recommendations in the Bew Review, and the Government’s decision for Wales will receive a total of £14.92m in ‘convergence’ funding, an annual increase of £5.2m.