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■ Upland farms facing fight for survival ■ ‘Green’ proposals restrict productivity ■ Financialand legislative help needed


SOME of Wales’ upland farms may not survive under plans to link European direct payments to environmental meas- ures because their sys- tems rely on maximising production. According to anew report,


the Welsh uplands can onlybe viablewith better financial and legislative support. The NFU Cymru ‘Farming Delivers forthe Hills and


by Debbie James


Uplands’ document suggests thatwithout these measures, the region –which accounts for2.7million acres of Welsh countryside –will struggle to produce food. The support upland com-


munities had receivedunder CAP’sPillar 1and Pillar 2had been crucial forupland agri- culture, it insists.


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And the report maintains


thatproposals to ‘green’pillar 1payments would restrict the productive capacity of upland agriculture, which aims to maximise output on improved and semi-improved pasture. “Any measures thatrestrict


what afarmer can do with this land, what can be grownor howthe land and swardcan be improved will have major implications forthe viability of upland farming businesses.’’


Support provided to upland


farmers via the Wales Rural Development Plan has also been vital to maintaining the profitability and viability of upland farming. EU regulations allowfor compensatory allowances to offset the effects of farming in areas of permanent handicap butthe Welsh Government had decided not to provide support to less favoured areas under this measure.


“This matter must be


redressed at the earliest oppor- tunity with the reinstatement of adedicated support scheme under the Wales RDP,” according to the report. It also urges the Welsh


Government to takeafresh look at planning and environ- mental constraints on renew- able energy projects in Wales and formoreinvestment to be made into upland farming research and development.


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