Mark Drakeford accused of blaming farmers for struggles facing sector

Plaid Cymru has accused First Minister Mark Drakeford of blaming farmers for the current challenges facing the agriculture sector.


During FMQs, the Welsh Labour Leader said the sector was in the position it was in because farmers in Wales “voted to leave the European Union”.


There is no evidence that farmers in Wales voted to leave the EU on a greater scale than other sector groups in Wales.


Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth, who challenged Mark Drakeford on his government’s attitude towards farmers during FMQs, said the First Minister should “seriously reflect on his comments over the past two days”.


The Plaid Cymru member pledged his and his party’s support for the struggling sector and said farmers had had enough from “governments either end of the M4”.


Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said,


“It is deeply regrettable that the First Minister believes it is appropriate to suggest that Welsh farmers are to blame for the challenges facing the sector. Follow that logic to its conclusion, then the people of Wales are to blame for everything that’s going wrong right now.


“This is a sector under siege and farmers across Wales have simply had enough. Governments either end of the M4 have let them down.


“From Tory-made trade deals which undermine our agriculture sector and their failure to match EU-funding – to Labour’s weakness in dealing with the impact on TB on family farms, their delivery of a Habitat Wales Scheme which risks undoing so many years of agri-environment work, and an unworkable plan to cover 10% of their land with trees, with the loss of productive farmland.


“And on top of that, they have to deal with a government that just does not seem ready to listen to their concerns.


“Whether it’s steel, whether it’s hospitality or retail, or if its agriculture, the role of Welsh Government is to be leading a partnership. Championing Welsh workers. Working with them. Less lecturing, more listening.


“I would ask the First Minister to seriously reflect on his comments over the past two days.


“Plaid Cymru will always stand up for all of Wales, including our agriculture sector. Labour must do the same and work with the sector to secure its future – as key partners for tackling climate change and delivering food security.”


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