‘Brand Wales’ could see post-Brexit boost as public rally behind farmers

A National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Cymru survey, conducted by YouGov, has highlighted consumers’ concerns for the Welsh farming industry once the UK leaves the European Union.

63% of Welsh consumers surveyed said that they were concerned that trade deals could limit Welsh farmers’ ability to export their produce.

The impact of post-Brexit imports of food and drink having lower standards of animal health and welfare than Welsh produce was a concern for 62% of those questioned.

Over half (54%) of respondents said they were concerned about how Brexit could affect the UK’s ability to produce food for home markets.

While Brexit could pose significant challenges for the Welsh agricultural industry, the consumer survey indicates that it could also help drive sales in Welsh produce once the UK leaves the European Union.

Of those quizzed, 25% said buying Welsh produce will be more important to them post-Brexit, while an additional 31% said that buying Welsh produce is important to them now and it will remain that way after March 2019.

‘Very real fears’

NFU Cymru president John Davies added: “The two years since the European Referendum have been a worrying time for the Welsh farming industry.

With March 2019 fast approaching, the clarity that is needed to instil farmers’ confidence and enable them to take decisions that will affect their businesses long into the future is, sadly, still lacking.

“Our survey shows that the Welsh public also has very real fears about how Brexit could impact on our industry, both in terms of future trade and food production.

“It is obvious that the Welsh agricultural industry and public are united in their calls for more clarity and a final deal that enables the sector to continue to produce and supply safe, high quality, fully traceable and affordable food to the consumer.

‘Opportunities in Brexit’

“While Brexit will seemingly present Welsh farmers with a number of challenges, it also has the possibility of offering up significant opportunities.

“It is, therefore, pleasing to see that Brexit could boost sales in Welsh food and drink among consumers, with 56% of the public stating that buying Welsh produce will be important to them post-Brexit.

“With this in mind, the development of ‘Brand Wales’, a brand to market and promote Wales as a country of high-quality food and drink produced in diverse and beautiful landscapes around a strong natural asset base, is going to be of paramount importance in the future.

“This is something we have been working on with industry colleagues and with Welsh Government for some time now. I am keen that we are able to take advantage of this opportunity to maximise our potential to capitalise on the increased demand for Welsh produce that Brexit is seemingly creating.”