The Welsh Government has announced it is making available £227m of funding over the next three years to support Wales’ rural economy.
This funding allocation follows the end of the EU’s Rural Development Program (RDP), which will end in 2023 and ensure continued support to areas previously funded under the RDP.
The funding, which will be available to support farmers, foresters, land managers and associated rural sectors, and will be split across six key 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, incorporating circular economy approaches and encouraging the use of renewable energy.
- On-farm efficiency and diversification – supporting on-farm efficiency through investment in new technology and equipment and enabling opportunities for agricultural diversification.
- Land management at the landscape scale – providing nature-based solutions at the landscape scale, through a multi-sector collaborative approach.
- Wood and forest – support our commitment of 43,000 hectares of wood creation by 2030 and support the creation of a wood-based industrial strategy.
- Food and agricultural supply chains – creating 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.
The framework complements the development of the government’s sustainable agriculture programme, which will reward farmers and land managers for the work they do to meet the challenges of climate change, alongside sustainable food production and the benefits that come with it. derive for food security in Wales and around the world.
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.
The government has also confirmed that discussions with Plaid Cymru to meet commitments under the cooperation agreement are ongoing.
This includes working with the farming community to encourage the creation of woodlands on less productive land and through agroforestry and “hedge and edge” approaches, and exploring ways to attract investment to the creation of forest lands that guarantee local ownership and management.
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