Small businesses are ‘backbone of rural Wales’

Llyr Gruffydd AM sees the link between farming and rural businesses in Corwen

Plaid Cymru shadow rural affairs minister Llyr Gruffydd has visited a number of businesses in the Corwen area with NFU Cymru.

The North Wales AM heard the farmer’s view when visiting the Geraint Jones beef and sheep farm at Nant yr Erw Haidd, Gwyddelwern: the view of suppliers by Richard Jones, Corwen General Manager of the Corwen Farmers Ltd, and a visit was made to a local business that was buying products from farms.

Geraint Jones’s big concern was to secure a market for lambs in the future and the real need to see markets on continental Europe remain open for lambs. A very high proportion of farm lambs were sold to a buyer through Ruthin Market who slaughtered them for export. Most of the stock on the farm are sheep, so protecting this market was central to the business.

Ensuring a regular supply of farm products was key to Richard Jones’ thinking in Corwen Farmers. He said he was already seeing the prices of inputs such as grass and feed rising due to dry weather last summer. In addition there was nervousness about the ability of companies to ensure a supply of raw materials as the uncertainties of Brexit continued.

It was clear that, when considering the recent Welsh Government’s ‘Brexit and our land’ consultation paper, the importance of an innovative, profitable and productive farming industry in Wales to underpin other rural businesses within the rural economy.

Rhodri Jones, Vice Chair of the Meirionnydd Branch of NFU Cymru, said: “While sitting down and down, someone realizes how dependent we are on each other. Three businesses were visited not more than two miles apart, between them the three companies provide a living for 30 individuals. ”

Llyr Gruffydd AM said: “It was very interesting to discuss the situation with different businesses that are a backbone to the economy of rural Wales. As well as the daily challenges facing farmers and small businesses, Brexit’s uncertainty means that it is not possible for them to plan ahead for the future. It is crucial for all businesses in Wales – whether Airbus or an upland sheep farmer – to have assurance in looking for the future. It is shameful that the British Government has failed to secure a clear and organised way to leave the European Union after two years of discussions. I am grateful to NFU Cymru for arranging the visits and also for the various enterprises for their welcome and the information I received from talking to them.”

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