A £106m financial investment could contribute to the rural economy’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The funding package from the Welsh Government and EU Rural Development Programme will be delivered over the next three years to support projects that boost the rural economy, enhance biodiversity and improve food sector resilience in Wales.
The funding has been welcomed by the sector including Don Thomas, Chair of ACCA Wales, who supports businesses who deliver services to the rural economy.
Don’s work primarily focuses on quality assurance in the food production supply chain, ensuring businesses demonstrate compliance and due diligence.
Responding to the financial investment announcement, Don said: “This financial package is a welcome investment for the rural economy and will build upon the sector’s experiences during the pandemic to contribute to a green recovery.
“The rural economy has adapted its practices this year, embracing remote working and sharing knowledge across the sector online which has reduced emissions and the need to travel beyond the local area. However, moving forward we will need to manage a healthy balance of remote and physical work. Funding projects that support the sector to be able to do both will be beneficial.”
Other financial schemes will also be developed in response to the pandemic and other challenges such as Brexit.
Don added: “The rural economy will be greatly affected by Brexit, particularly the food supply chain, as the EU is our primary exports market. The resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic this Autumn has shifted the focus away from Brexit, leaving great uncertainty within the sector about what agreement will be reached by the end of the year and the impact it will have on us.
“As the financial package will be delivered over three years, we hope the investment will also support businesses through any challenges they will face when we leave the EU.”