A multi-million pound package of support to help the Welsh food industry prepare for Brexit has be announced by First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones.

Through the Welsh Government’s £50million EU Transition Fund, £2.15 million will be provided to support the development of the red meat sector in Wales. The investment will support famers to identify improvements to their businesses to help them become more competitive and in a better position to trade profitably following Brexit.

Funding will also be given to an import substitution project to help identify and secure supply chains within the UK and encourage companies based in the EU to set up operations in Wales.

Over the next two years, the fishing and aquaculture industries will also receive financial support to help that sector find new markets and prepare for future trading outside the EU.

Speaking ahead of his address to the Farmer’s Union of Wales (FUW) annual meeting in Aberystwyth, the First Minister said: “Brexit presents a series of challenges and opportunities for our agriculture and fisheries industries. The funding I am announcing from our EU Transition Fund will provide vitally needed support. As a Government we will do all we can to help these important industries prepare for a post-Brexit world."

The move has been welcomed by the FUW.

FUW president Glyn Roberts said: "We welcome the fact that one of the first EU transitional fund projects to be announced relates to the livestock sector which is so important to our economy and communities.

The investment will allow farmers to assess the financial status of their businesses in order to help prepare for Brexit.

"There is so much uncertainty around what will happen over the coming months and years in terms of Brexit that planning is nigh on impossible.

"However, those who gain a detailed understanding of their current costs and outputs will inevitably be better prepared for the volatility and changes, whatever they may be, allowing them to react more quickly and appropriately to protect and improve their businesses."

Mr Roberts said he hoped this would be the first of a number of EU transition fund projects to be announced aimed at helping our food and farming industries which are particularly vulnerable to Brexit.

NFU Cymru president, John Davies added: “We hope Welsh Government will now work with the industry to develop the detail of the scheme to ensure that the information that will be required from producers is easily obtainable and that the support can make a meaningful difference on farm.

“We’re also pleased to see support for an import substitution project to help maximise the opportunity for Welsh produce to be used in domestic supply chains.

“With great uncertainty remaining over our future trading relationship with the EU and with our red meat sector so dependent on these EU markets, we are pleased the First Minister has recognised this and committed funding through the Welsh Government’s EU Transition Fund to this sector which is of vital importance to Wales.”