General Election 2010: Plaid Cymru sets out policies

With the general election set for May 6 Plaid Cymru sets out its main policies for Welsh farming.

How will you ensure Welsh farmers get a fair deal from Westminster?

Securing funding for the farming industry is vital. This is particularly true for agricultural research. Decisions on CAP funding are taken at the Council of Ministers where DEFRA takes the lead role. The Assembly Government should take that lead role when Welsh issues are being discussed. Plaid Cymru will oppose a UK Treasury livestock tax being imposed on Welsh farmers.

How will you encourage new entrants into farming?

The Plaid Cymru rural affairs minister, Elin Jones, has secured just under £2m in funding for a Young Entrants Support Scheme to make sure that the young people we need to secure the future of the farming industry are properly supported.

Should farmers be allowed to grow GMs?

We are committed to keeping Wales GM free. We support adding value to Welsh produce by promoting and marketing it as high quality and environmentally friendly produce with a quality mark.

What measures will you adopt to tackle animal disease?

We are making progress towards eradicating bovine TB in Wales. The TB programme involves heightened surveillance and control measures to get rid of infection at an earlier stage by testing all cattle herds in Wales. A badger removal project will take place alongside stricter cattle disease control measures.

What percentage of food should be home grown?

At an absolute minimum the UK should be self-sufficient in food grown or produced by its farmers. In addition, modern farming systems in the UK can and should, produce high quality food for all export markets.

How will you curb retailer power?

Of great concern is the decline in the farmgate share of retail food prices. It is a priority area that a supermarket ombudsman should investigate. We need mandatory requirements under UK food labelling legislation so that consumers have clear information on place of farming.

Should farm payments be subject to a minimum size or ceiling?

From 2014 farm payments will change from a historic to an area based-system. The new scheme should address; income deficiency as a result of geographic location, high overheads when economies of scale are not possible, the relative profitability of UK agricultural systems. A ceiling payment is a realistic option particularly when payment levels contribute to profit only.

• To read about the three main parties’ policies click here and have your say on the general election in our forum.

* For a comment on the Election see Phil Clarke’s Business Blog