The Welsh Government is making £227million available to the Welsh rural economy over the next three years, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has announced.
The aim of the funding is to work towards Wales’ climate change targets and respond to the end of the EU Rural Development Program (RDP), which will end in 2023.
It also complements the Sustainable Agriculture Program, which will reward farmers and land managers for the work they do to meet the challenges of climate and natural emergencies alongside sustainable food production, with benefits for food security. in Wales and around the world.
The funding, which will be available to support farmers, foresters, land managers and associated rural sectors, will be spread across six themes:
- Farm-scale land management: Sustainable on-farm land management actions to improve natural resources, such as encouraging the cultivation of crops that provide environmental benefit such as protein crops;
- On-farm environmental improvements: Including improving fuel, feed and nutrient efficiency, integrating circular economy approaches and encouraging the use of renewable energy;
- Efficiency and diversification on the farm: Support farm efficiency through investments in new technologies and equipment and enable opportunities for agricultural diversification;
- Landscape scale land management: Provide nature-based solutions at the landscape scale, through a multi-sector collaborative approach;
- wood and foresty – support our commitment to create 43,000 hectares of woodland by 2030 and support the construction of an industrial strategy around wood;
- Food and agricultural supply chains: To create a strong and vibrant Welsh food and drink industry with a global reputation for excellence with one of the most environmentally and socially responsible supply chains in the world.
Announcing the funding, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said:
“Our rural economy plays a crucial role in how we live our lives. It provides us with the quality food we eat, the natural resources we enjoy and supports communities and livelihoods across Wales.
“We know that it continues to face many challenges, including climate change which threatens our land, impacts water and air quality and places additional pressures on biodiversity.
“We want to support the sustainable food production of Welsh farmers and we want our rural communities to have a green and sustainable future. This package is designed to support these goals. A strong rural economy can only benefit our rural communities.
“The significant funding I am announcing will be essential to help our farmers, foresters, land managers and food businesses promote sustainable food production and meet the challenges ahead, supporting the pace and scale of change needed to support rural economy on the way to net zero, nature positive Wales.