£106m will be invested in rural Wales to help it weather the “storm” of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, the Welsh Government has announced.
The Welsh Government said the money was being made available in response to the pandemic and Wales’ “imminent” EU exit.
The schemes will be funded through a combination of the EU Rural Development Programme 2014-20, and from the Welsh Government’s own funds.
“The impact on our rural communities of the intense storm events earlier this year and then the Covid-19 pandemic has been immense,” Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths said.
“Welsh Government has provided immediate support through the Economic Resilience Fund, unique to Wales, as well as a series of targeted schemes. The announcement today sets out some of the funding we will make available for rural development not just in the immediate future, but for the next three years.”
Projects supported by the increased investment will include:
- Woodland creation and restoration
- Improving biodiversity
- Helping food businesses to improve their supply chains,
- Supporting farm businesses
- The food and drink sector
One of those receiving new funding will be Food Innovation Wales. Professor David Lloyd of the body said that he welcomed the move.
“We have continued to engage with a variety of businesses throughout this challenging time – given the impact many of them have suffered as a result of the recent pandemic, I am sure they will welcome the long-term support which the increase in RDP and Welsh Government funding will provide,” he said.
“Project HELIX will continue to provide vital support to Welsh businesses as they look to develop new products, cut back on waste and gain internationally-recognised certification.”
Huw Thomas, Managing Director at Puffin Foods, said: “Having received support through RDP via the Food Business Investment Scheme (FBIS) and Project HELIX in the past, we are very pleased to see that the Welsh Government has announced further funding to rural, food and environmental schemes.
“Recent times have hit the food and produce sector especially hard – this announcement will go some way into providing a level of much-needed reassurance to businesses across Wales.”