NFU Cymru has warmly welcomed the announcement from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, that BPS (Basic Payment Scheme) direct payments to Welsh farmers will remain the same in 2021.

In her written statement, Lesley Griffiths said she had “prioritised support” for the sector to help with the challenges facing rural communities as a result of the UK leaving the EU and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The total direct payment ceiling of £238 million mirrors the level of support provided to farmers in 2020.

NFU Cymru President John Davies said:

“NFU Cymru very much welcomes [yesterday’s] announcement from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs that BPS payments to the industry in 2021 will be maintained at the levels paid in 2020.

As a union, we have stressed to the Welsh government that the BPS is crucial to maintaining the supply of safe, high-quality and affordable food to all in society.

“Never has this been more important than as the nation continues to battle against the effect of the coronavirus.”

‘Unprecedented challenges for our sector’

Davies continued:

“The year ahead presents unprecedented challenges for our sector, as our relationship with the EU market is about to change and the long-term impact of Covid-19 on food supply systems is still unknown.

“This announcement from the minister is a welcome assurance to the nation’s farmers at a very difficult time.

As well as providing security to farming businesses, this announcement is a boost for our rural businesses and communities, also, as Welsh farms provide the economic, social and cultural foundation of our rural communities.

“Although there is still much uncertainty ahead for Welsh agriculture, the news that funding levels for the 2021 BPS will be maintained provides clarity and stability in the short term and will go some way to helping equip farmers for the continuing challenges ahead,” Davies concluded.