A radical overhaul of food policy in Wales is needed to secure the health and wellbeing of its people and the economy, academics conclude.
The research, from Cardiff University’s Sustainable Places Research Institute and commissioned by WWF Cymru, calls for the creation of an integrated, sustainable and just food system fit for future generations.
According to the report, a new food vision for Wales should explore what could be produced and sold locally to benefit the health of the population as well as feed the economy. Welsh Government, farmers, businesses and the public need to be involved in creating this new food system strategy for Wales, it adds.
Improved infrastructure is needed in towns and the countryside to link food producers to consumers in more diverse ways, the report states. This means more sites for food markets, community retailers and food processors, investment in food cooperatives and the development of a network of food hubs that aggregate and distribute local food.
They also recommend that a new Wales Food Commission should be established to oversee the delivery of the food system strategy. The development of a National Universal Food Framework would ensure all Welsh people have the right to access healthy food.
Professor Terry Marsden, director of the Sustainable Places Research Institute, said: “Many people in Wales cannot afford a healthy diet. The current food system has negative impacts on the environment, public health and the country’s economic wellbeing. This is hindering our ability to prosper as a nation now and will continue to do so in the future unless we take action.
“This report details the ways in which policymakers can develop a strategy that works hand-in-hand with nature and truly delivers benefits for generations to come.”