Welsh government may change tack on LFAs

One of the most controversial issues surrounding Wales’ new environmental land management programme could be removed following a possible change of heart on payments to farmers in less favoured areas.

Deputy agriculture minister, Alun Davies, has told a Welsh Assembly Senedd debate he is considering additional payments within Glastir for “areas of natural constraints”.

Last year the Welsh Government announced it would abolish the Less Favoured Area (LFA) payment uplift in Glastir. This decision, which affects nearly 80% of agricultural land in Wales, would mean that for the first time in more than 60 years Wales would have no scheme specific to areas with more challenging farming conditions.

But responding to a question in the Senedd from shadow rural affairs minister, Antoinette Sandbach, Mr Davies has now said there would be further discussions and negotiations about the new Common Agricultural Policy, and this would include provision for “additional or differential payments for areas of natural constraint.”

Ms Sandbach welcomed the news. “Some 80% of Wales is classified as LFA and abolishing support would leave Welsh farmers at a unique disadvantage to the rest of the UK and their competitors across Europe,” she said.

“Farmers in the uplands work in some of the most challenging conditions and the support the government provides should reflect that.”

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