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Call for a body to promotefarm produce.

Byline: Dai Davies

THE night of May 3 proved to be quite interesting, as the results of the Assembly elections slowly came through in the early hours of Friday morning.

The initial trickle of declarations coming through from places such as Islwyn soon turned into a deluge as results from all across Wales poured in.

Whilst a number of seats changed hands there was the odd surprise, and some faces familiar to the farming industry were not re-elected.

There are of course a lot of new faces at the Assembly, 13 in fact, whom I'm sure will all be keen to contribute to proceedings as well as make use of the Assembly's new powers.

Over the next few weeks NFU Cymru will be busy meeting with Assembly members, both old and new, bringing them up to date on the latest issues and developments in Welsh agriculture.

I had the opportunity to address a conference on Sustaining Rural Economics Through Trans-National Co-operation recently.

The EU-funded conference, set up by PLANED and Carmarthenshire County Council was held in order to see what future lies ahead for the rural economy.

Sustainability is one of the buzz words of the Welsh Assembly at present, to which there are many definitions.

Although the conference was all about keeping rural economies alive, the reality is that returns from agriculture have fallen dramatically over the last ten years, especially in the dairy sector.

The Welsh Assembly Government has a role to play in that it must allow farmer-controlled businesses to come together so that they can invest more efficiently in order to strengthen their negotiation power, as farmers now operate in a global market.

The setting up of a marketing board for Wales, such as the Irish Board Bia, to manage and promote Welsh agricultural products is in need of exploration by the Assembly Government.

One successful organisation to guide and lead the milk industry in Wales would make all the difference to the dairy farmers of Wales.

Dai Davies is a dairy farmer near Whitland and president of NFU Cymru
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 15, 2007
Words:344
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