Brexit: priorities for Welsh agriculture Contents


1.The UK’s membership of the EU has shaped all aspects of agricultural life in Wales, from the system of subsidy and rural development under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to the protections that exist for agricultural produce such as Welsh lamb and Conwy Mussels. The EU is also the prime destination for international exports of Welsh agricultural produce, providing the market for over 80% of food and animal exports.1 The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will, therefore, have significant implications for the agricultural industry and wider food sector in Wales.

2.Given the importance of agriculture to the Welsh economy, and the many questions Brexit raises about future agricultural policy for Wales, in March 2017 our predecessor Committee launched an inquiry examining agriculture in Wales after Brexit.2 This work was curtailed by the 2017 General Election, but when this Committee was re-established after the election we decided to continue our predecessor’s scrutiny of the impact of Brexit on Wales, looking in particular at agriculture.3

3.To inform our work we have taken evidence from a range of organisations and representatives of the farming community and agricultural sector in Wales, as well as ministers of the UK and Welsh Governments.4 We also heard the views of Welsh farmers in an open meeting at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Winter Fair at Builth Wells.5

4.This Report sets out what we see as the key issues for Welsh agriculture post-Brexit, and calls on the UK Government to respond to these, minimising any adverse impacts of Brexit, and maximising opportunities for the sector. Our Report sits alongside a separate publication which presents the views of those we heard from in their own words, and highlights the areas where they saw risks and opportunities.6

5.While this Report represents the views of the majority of the Committee, there are a wide range of views on the Committee regarding Brexit, the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and the direction of agricultural policy in Wales. We recognise that there are also contrasting views across the agricultural community in Wales, and within the UK Government. In this Report we have sought to reflect the wide range of views we have heard throughout the course of our inquiry, and identify key priorities and, as far as possible, areas of common ground.

1 National Assembly for Wales, Research Briefing: The Red Meat Sector, November 2017, page 7

2 Welsh Affairs Committee, ‘Agriculture and Brexit inquiry launches with visit to Dolgellau’, 16 March 2017

4 A full list of the Committee’s evidence is available on pages 34–36.

5 Welsh Affairs Committee, ‘Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Winter Fair hosts Brexit impact discussion’, 23 November 2017

Published: 9 July 2018