Wales can lead the world in producing lamb and beef in ways which address the twin challenges of climate change and global food security, according to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) Chief Executive Gwyn Howells.
In addressing the Welsh Parliament’s Climate Change, Environment, and Rural Affairs Committee earlier this month, Mr. Howells outlined the natural advantages which Wales enjoyed for sustainable livestock farming – the best conditions in the world for growing grass, plentiful rainwater, and the husbandry skills to produce quality meat from marginal land while also sequestering carbon in the soils and hedgerows.
With climate action and ensuring a sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19 high on the political agenda, he also outlined the findings of new research into Welsh farming and sustainability, contained in HCC’s The Welsh Way vision, including how Wales could provide sustainable food sources for parts of the world where water was scarce, and how Welsh farms were working to reduce emissions further.
“We have a fantastic story to tell in terms of our sustainability credentials,” said Mr Howells. “Working with independent researchers from a range of universities, we’ve shown that producing beef and lamb in Wales is far more sustainable than livestock farming in many other areas of the planet.
“There’s more we can do, and we’re determined to minimise our emissions and maximise the carbon that we capture in our soils,” he added, “but given the sustainable credentials we have, we can contribute positively to the global food security problem of producing quality food in the most appropriate place without adding to climate change.
“In Wales we have the perfect conditions for grass growth and a landscape which is largely unsuited for other food production. It’s far more damaging to produce it in arid areas such as the Middle East and parts of the Americas, so we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to maintain and build a strong sheep and cattle farming sector to produce sustainable food for consumers in Britain and abroad.”