Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Wales

Wales has a distinctive and progressive policy and legal framework, in particular, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which requires the Welsh Government and its public services to put the well-being of current and future generations at the heart of their delivery.

At county level, the development of statutory multi-agency Public Services Boards provides some early opportunities to integrate well-being objectives.

Wales’ landscape is made up of upland and mountainous areas, lowlands, coastal areas and islands. It has wetter climate than much of the rest of the UK. Agricultural land makes up over 80% of the land in Wales, much of which is grassland pasture and designated as ‘Less Favoured Areas’ under European Union designation. Urban development in Wales concentrates around the south and north ‘corridors’, with a large, sparsely populated and poorly-connected central belt. Inequalities are writ large: from the vibrant City regions and university towns, the remote rural villages, to the post-industrial landscapes – Wales is still dealing with the lasting impacts of that history.

What has happened so far

In the first phases of the Commission, our inquiry in Wales focussed on the opportunities afforded by this distinctive Welsh legal and policy framework to make more rapid progress towards sustainable practices. With Carmarthenshire Public Services Board, and Menter a Busnes, we focussed on how public procurement could work more effectively to support the seven goals outlined in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Supported by a procurement specialist from Cardiff University, the Carmarthenshire Public Services Board resolved to use the collaborative purchasing power of its statutory public sector partnership members to influence local food supply chains. Separately, a group of farmers, growers and producers in North Wales was established with the support of Menter a Busnes, to look at supply chain barriers - the inquiry explored issues on both sides of the contracting relationship.

Who is involved

The inquiry is led by Jane Davidson.

Through the inquiry, we support existing initiatives to map and develop a strong and networked food, farming and countryside sector. We work with the Food Policy Alliance Cymru, Natural Resources Wales, farming bodies, citizens action groups and other partners to enhance each other’s work, identify where there are gaps and help to find common ground.

What’s happening next

Our soon to be launched report, Wales Field Guide for Future Generations, showcases a small selection of the many examples of innovative Welsh practices, and sets out our plans for our next phase. We will work together with a wide range of public bodies, businesses, campaigning and community groups, to develop a three-year forward plan. We anticipate our work will be focused around four main themes:

  • Ensuring that the need for fair and healthy food systems is integrated into thinking and decisions about well-being, land use and resources
  • Investigating the potential for agroecology in Wales
  • Enquiring whether all public spending is aligned coherently for Welsh policy intentions
  • Explaining the resources needed for a just transition to more sustainable food and farming systems and flourishing rural economies.

Contact

Sophie Reid
sophie.reid@ffcc.co.uk