8 June 2001

Aid key to post-F&M recovery, says CLA

AID for all rural businesses must be the cornerstone of any recovery programme launched in the wake of foot-and-mouth, says the Country Land and Business Association.

CLA president, Anthony Bosanquet, says he will pressure the new government to support both farmers and non-farmers who can make a positive contribution to the rural economy.

Speaking during an eve of a general election visit to one of the most successful farm parks in Wales, Mr Bosanquet said one of his top priorities was to encourage diversification.

He said the success of Folly Farm, Begelly, Pembrokeshire, was a wonderful example of the way land could be used to generate non-farming income and provide employment.

"After the worst farming recession in living memory, there is an urgent need to develop alternative businesses in the countryside, which is a priceless economic and environmental national asset," he said.

During his visit to Folly Farm, Mr Bosanquet heard that Glyn Williams and his family had invested £2m in the enterprise over 14 years. What was once a family dairy unit now drew more than 200,000 visitors a year. &#42