Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Angela Burns has called on the Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths to show stronger leadership for those hundreds of thousands of Welsh citizens employed in the agricultural and food industry.
Whist the whole Welsh economy is suffering very uncertain times as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, rural areas have been hit especially hard due to their reliance on the tourism and agricultural sectors.
Commenting, Angela Burns said
“The Minister needs to be more visible and provide cast iron reassurance that she is on top of her brief during these worrying times.
“Some farming businesses have been in touch to tell me they are pouring their milk away as their supply chain collapses, but perversely at the same time we are experiencing shortages of milk in a number of supermarkets. Farmers are also finding that they are unable to process livestock due the closure of agricultural markets, leaving them with growing concerns for animal welfare.
“The Minister has been worryingly silent on these and other issues. She needs to urgently set out clearly how to redirect produce to the domestic market and provide support to welsh agricultural companies to facilitate access to new supply chains. Additionally the Minister must set out how the sector will be compensated for lost revenue to enable their vital businesses to continue once the pandemic is beaten.
“I am also hearing worrying concerns about animal welfare and I am perturbed that the guidance on how to safely continue to undertake Bovine TB tests whilst maintaining the social distancing guidelines have now being brought in to law remains unclear.
“The Agricultural sector not only employs around 250,000 people in Wales but is a multimillion pound industry. Other Welsh Government Ministers are leading from the front, I implore the Minister for Rural Affairs to provide the leadership that our agricultural sector is crying out for before the sector is irreparably damaged.