The Mid Wales farming community has hit back after a senior UK Government adviser suggested that the UK does not need farmers.

Tim Leunig’s comments about the food sector were printed on the front page of the Mail on Sunday with the headline “Leaked emails: Britain doesn’t need farmers”.

Dr Leunig suggested that the UK should import everything it needs and follow the example of countries such as Singapore who are “rich without having its own agricultural sector”.

NFU Cymru livestock board chair Wyn Evans said it was another “attack on farming”.

“We produce food to the highest standards compared to the rest of the world. Shame on him, he’s definitely lost the argument there.

“We can’t run an economy like Singapore. We’re an island nation and we need food security. We need to be seen as strong, and any talk of nonsense puts our country at a disadvantage.

“What’s important in an area like Mid Wales is that a large proportion of the economy is down to agriculture. It’s a big player and we need our farmers.”

County Times:

Fay Jones, Brecon and Radnorshire MP and newly-appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), said she was "really disappointed".

"They do not reflect government policy at all. I think it’s essential to stress that these comments are leaked from private correspondence. The individual is clearly speaking for himself and not the Government in any way."

She added: "I absolutely do not share his views. Farming provides so much to the UK – in terms of healthy food, environmental delivery, landscape management and highly skilled jobs in rural areas. I am extremely proud of the many thousands of farmers I represent and the amazing produce that British farmers are responsible for – especially those in Brecon and Radnor."

Former Montgomeryshire MP and Berriew farmer Glyn Davies said "those of us with farming in our DNA should not be complacent."

"Farming is under closer scrutiny than I ever remember. The siren calls for a Singapore-type economy could easily grow. They will need to be challenged.”

While former Brecon and Radnorshire MP Jane Dodds slammed the comments as “outrageous”.

She said: “‪Farmers are the backbone of communities here in Mid Wales and are a vital part of our rural economy.”