Agriculture Bill/Bil Amaethyddiaeth

I know that many people are concerned about aspects of the Agriculture Bill, including potential trade deals with countries who may not have similar standards of animal welfare and food hygiene, maintaining our own high animal welfare standards, making sure we know the food we eat is produced ethically and is everything that it says on the label.

Leaving the EU means the UK is leaving the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Agriculture Bill will provide the legislative framework for replacement agricultural support schemes. It provides a range of powers to implement new approaches to farm payments and land management. In England, farmers will be paid to produce ‘public goods’ such as environmental or animal welfare improvements. The Bill also includes wider measures, including on improving fairness in the agricultural supply chain and on the operation of agricultural markets.

Protection for our farmers, making sure they receive fair payment for the food and goods they produce.  Maintaining and increasing environmental standards, paying farmers to maintain and protect the environment for everyone.

Dealing with support for farming, this Agriculture Bill provides enabling powers for Ministers to develop new farm support approaches in England. Direct payments to farmers are currently based on how much land is farmed. These will be phased out starting in 2021 over a seven-year period. New schemes to pay farmers for producing ‘public goods’ such as environmental or animal welfare improvements will be introduced. New items have been added to the list of purposes in the previous Bill that can be given financial support, notably soil protection and improvement.

To address welfare and labelling concerns the Bill includes measures on marketing standards and carcass classification. For example, to amend or revoke EU and domestic legislation or to set new standards tailored to suit UK agricultural sectors. New clauses are included in this Bill on certification of organic products. These are important for imports and exports as well as domestic sales. Food labelling is crucial to allow consumers to make choices about what they buy. We make these choices already, to buy UK produce, organic, free range, how the chickens that lay our eggs have lived and how the meat we eat has been bred.

The Government has stated on many occasions that the UKs high animal welfare standards will not be watered down in pursuit of trade deals. The Trade Bill will be the avenue through which the finer details of trade agreements with other countries will be discussed and where the standards the UK accepts, or does not accept, will be mapped out.

I am reassured by my Ministerial colleagues’ commitment not to compromise the UK’s high animal welfare, environmental, food safety and food import standards in any future trade agreements, including one with the US. Ministers do not want to compromise the UK’s domestic welfare production standards either. It is worth noting that none of the transitioned EU FTAs have exported domestic welfare production standards, and extraterritorial regulation will not form part of any trade deal the UK is party to.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice, concluded the debate saying, ‘ I am conscious that animal welfare has been a big feature of the debate. The Government have a manifesto commitment that in all trade deals, they will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.’

You can access the debate through the below link.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-05-13/debates/D4889925-5B63-498E-BC68-BFCF91691C66/AgricultureBill

A number of amendments were lodged that were not related to the intentions of the Bill. These amendments were based on understandable fears about a future Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the USA based on three core concerns: competition, food quality and animal welfare.

I raised these directly with the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP, who is leading our negotiation with the USA, and one of her lead negotiators. Would greater access to the UK market by foreign competition that does not have the additional costs of our high husbandry standards unfairly undermine the interests of Welsh farmers?

I was assured that there is no intention of reducing the UK’s high animal welfare standards as a result of any trade agreement. We stand by our manifesto commitment on this. Our product import and food safety standards are not covered by FTA and will remain unchanged.

But, importantly, this is not the same as requiring the imposition of equivalent production standards on any country trading with the UK. This would be against World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. Not surprisingly then, it is not a part of any FTA that the UK, the EU, or anyone else has signed up to.

So to shoehorn such a requirement into this Agriculture Bill would remove our ability to conclude FTAs in the future. It would also damage our current agreements with countries like Japan, South Africa and Canada. None of them contain such a requirement, and none of them have caused concern. It would also make a nonsense of our trade negotiating position with the EU, where we are rejecting the EU demand for “a level playing field”, for the same reasons.

(Seeking to dictate the production processes in other countries is attractive but undeliverable - would EU member states accept dynamic alignment to UK production standards? No. In fact we’re not accepting those terms as presented to us by the EU.)

A UK hampered in trade with standards requirements so stringent that we couldn’t eat half the bacon we currently do for example, would also be a bad outcome for consumers.

Simply the amendments, while well-intentioned, would do more harm than good for the farming industry.

When it comes to trade, the government is fully aware of the importance that I, and my colleagues in North Wales, place on fair competition for our farmers. Analysis suggests that FTAs will give a substantial boost to all sectors of the UK farming industry and open up new markets that are currently closed to them. The US for example is the third largest market for lamb.

As a Conservative I believe that competition is good, both for businesses and for the consumer, but that competition needs to be fair. I will be following the FTA negotiations very carefully to make sure that my government colleagues do not forget this.

MY VOTE

For all these reasons I voted against the amendments, and in support of the Agriculture Bill - keeping it focussed on its core objectives of setting out the framework for agriculture for the next generation.

AND THE FUTURE?

We all yearn for certainty. We often resist change. The desire to keep what we have is understandable.

This is about the UK’s ability to compete on the world stage. The way forward for me lies in maintaining safety standards for imports must meet - but an overhaul of labelling to encourage educated consumer choice.

As a Conservative my focus is on enabling our farming industry to succeed in the new opportunities in front of us. The Bill is an agriculture policy that matches the needs - not of 28 diverse countries - but of our own British farmers. It sheds regulation that encumbers their productivity. Through the right trade deals we can boost our export markets.

And when each trade deal comes before the House I will scrutinise its effect on our food security, standards and the farming industry. If we find it wanting, we can vote against it.

That’s how we will bring prosperity and opportunity for British and Welsh farmers and the UK in the long term.

 

 

 

Rydw i’n gwybod bod llawer o bobl yn bryderus ynglŷn ag agweddau o’r Bil  Amaethyddiaeth, gan gynnwys bargeinion masnach posibl gyda gwledydd nad oes ganddyn nhw safonau tebyg ynglŷn â lles anifeiliaid a hylendid bwyd, cynnal ein safonau uchel ein hunain o ran lles anifeiliaid, sicrhau ein bod yn gwybod bod y bwyd yr ydym yn ei fwyta yn cael ei gynhyrchu yn foesegol a’i fod yn cynnwys popeth a nodir ar y label.

Mae gadael yr UE yn golygu bod y DU yn gadael Polisi Amaethyddol Cyffredin (PAC) yr UE.  Bydd y Bil Amaethyddiaeth yn darparu’r fframwaith deddfwriaethol ar gyfer cynlluniau cymorth amaethyddol a ddaw yn ei le.  Mae’n darparu amrediad o rymoedd er mwyn gweithredu dulliau newydd ar gyfer taliadau fferm a rheoli tir.  Yn Lloegr, bydd ffermwyr yn cael eu talu i gynhyrchu ‘nwyddau cyhoeddus’, fel gwelliannau amgylcheddol neu welliannau lles anifeiliaid.  Yn ogystal, mae’r Bil yn cynnwys mesurau ehangach, yn cynnwys gwella tegwch yn y gadwyn gyflenwi amaethyddol ac ynglŷn â sut mae marchnadoedd amaethyddol yn cael eu gweithredu.

Amddiffyn ein ffermwyr, drwy sicrhau eu bod yn derbyn taliad teg am y bwyd a’r nwyddau y maen nhw’n eu cynhyrchu a chynnal a gwella safonau amgylcheddol a thalu ffermwyr i gynnal a gwarchod yr amgylchedd ar gyfer pawb.

Drwy ymdrin â chymorth ar gyfer ffermio, mae’r Bil Amaethyddiaeth hwn yn darparu pwerau galluogi ar gyfer Gweinidogion i ddatblygu dulliau cymorth newydd ar gyfer ffermydd yn Lloegr.  Ar hyn o bryd, mae taliadau uniongyrchol i ffermwyr yn seiliedig ar faint o dir sy’n cael ei ffermio.  Bydd y rhain yn cael eu diddymu dros gyfnod o saith mlynedd o 2021 ymlaen.  Bydd cynlluniau newydd i dalu ffermwyr am gynhyrchu ‘nwyddau cyhoeddus’, fel gwelliannau amgylcheddol neu welliannau i les anifeiliaid yn cael eu cyflwyno.  Mae eitemau newydd wedi cael eu hychwanegu at y rhestr o ddibenion yn y Bil blaenorol a all dderbyn cymorth ariannol, yn arbennig cynnwys gwarchod a gwella’r pridd.

 

Er mwyn ymdrin â phryderon lles a labelu, mae’r Bil yn cynnwys mesurau ynglŷn â safonau marchnata a dosbarthu carcasau.  Er enghraifft, er mwyn diwygio neu ddirymu deddfwriaeth yr UE a deddfwriaeth ddomestig, neu i osod safonau newydd sydd wedi cael eu teilwra i gydweddu â sectorau amaethyddol y DU.  Mae cymalau newydd yn cael eu cynnwys yn y Bil hwn ynglŷn ag ardystio nwyddau organig.  Mae’r rhain yn bwysig ar gyfer mewnforion ac allforion, yn ogystal ag ar gyfer gwerthiant domestig.  Mae labelu bwyd yn hanfodol er mwyn caniatáu defnyddwyr i wneud dewisiadau ynglŷn â’r hyn y maen nhw’n ei brynu.  Rydym eisoes yn gwneud y dewisiadau hyn, prynu cynnyrch y DU, prynu cynnyrch organig, prynu cynnyrch maes, sut fywyd gafodd yr ieir sy’n dodwy ein hwyau ynghyd â sut mae’r cig yr ydym yn ei fwyta wedi cael ei fagu.

 

Mae’r Llywodraeth wedi datgan ar sawl achlysur na fydd y safonau uchel ynglŷn â lles anifeiliaid yn y DU yn cael eu gwanhau wrth chwilio am fargeinion masnach.  Y Bil Masnach fydd y cyfrwng drwy’r hyn y bydd manylder y cytundebau masnach gyda gwledydd eraill yn cael eu trafod, a lle bydd y safonau y mae’r DU yn eu derbyn, neu nad yw’n eu derbyn, yn cael eu hamlinellu.

Tawelwyd fy meddwl gan ymroddiad fy nghydweithwyr Gweinidogol i beidio â pheryglu safonau uchel ynglŷn â lles anifeiliaid, safonau amgylcheddol, safonau diogelwch bwyd a safonau mewnforio bwyd mewn unrhyw gytundebau masnach yn y dyfodol, yn cynnwys un gyda’r UDA.  Nid yw gweinidogion yn dymuno peryglu safonau cynhyrchu lles domestig y DU ychwaith.  Mae’n werth nodi nad yw’r un o CMRau yr UE a drawsnewidiwyd wedi mabwysiadu safonau lles cynhyrchu domestig, ac ni fydd rheoliad alltiriogaethol yn rhan o unrhyw fargen fasnach y mae’r DU yn rhan ohoni.

Wrth ddod â’r ddadl i ben, dywedodd George Eustice, yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol dros yr Amgylchedd, Bwyd a Materion Gwledig, ‘Rydw i’n ymwybodol bod lles anifeiliaid wedi bod yn rhan fawr o’r ddadl.  Mae gan y Llywodraeth ymrwymiad faniffesto sy’n nodi na fyddan nhw’n cyfaddawdu ar ein safonau uchel parthed gwarchodaeth amgylcheddol, lles anifeiliaid na bwyd ym mhob bargen fasnach.

 

Gallwch chi ddarllen y ddadl drwy’r ddolen isod.

 

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-05-13/debates/D4889925-5B63-498E-BC68-BFCF91691C66/AgricultureBill