British Meat Processors Association
British Meat Processors Association

Welsh government farming proposals will cost jobs and damage the economy

The British Meat Processors Association has written to the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, Lesley Griffiths, to raise deep concerns about proposals in the Consultation on the Sustainable Farm Scheme. We believe it will damage the economy, reduce tourism, impact biodiversity and discourage future investment in Wales.

By the Welsh Government’s own calculation, the new scheme will see 5500 jobs lost in agriculture, and see livestock production reduced by 122,000 livestock units, which is equivalent to 90% of the beef processing in Wales.

The three major meat processors in Wales employ around 3000 people and contribute an estimated £1 billion to Welsh GDP. They’re also at the forefront of marketing the Welsh brand to a worldwide export market. So, such swingeing cuts to production will have a material impact on the Welsh economy in multiple ways.

Beyond the financial impact, these proposed measures will put a major dent in our domestic food security, whilst making us more reliant on imported meat produced less sustainably in other parts of the world.

Nor will the Sustainable Farm Scheme deliver the intended environmental benefits. In his letter to the Minister, Nick Allen explains: “The carbon footprint of Welsh livestock production has already seen a massive reduction due to improving efficiencies in production which has enabled a steady decline in livestock numbers over the years.

“Wales also has the near perfect combination of extensive pasture and rainfall to rear livestock. With the correct measures, such a livestock system can add to biodiversity and be part of the solution to both climate change and feeding a growing population.”

Until now BMPA members have invested heavily in processing plants, supported by the Welsh government. But these new proposals have thrown into question any future investment and, if introduced, will see money, jobs and prosperity drain from the Welsh economy.

We urge the Welsh government to work with the farming unions and food manufacturers in Wales to find better solutions that prioritise food production and sustainability equally, and which offer the food industry and Welsh workers a brighter future.

You can read the full letter here (PDF)

About BMPA

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is the leading trade association for the meat and meat products industry in the UK.

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