Food producers in Scotland have benefited from over £100 million in support in the past 12 months.
This funding has been used to improve the promotion of Scottish produce at home and abroad, build new and improved infrastructure, and provide farm visits to help children better understand the farm to fork journey.
Speaking at the NFUS AGM, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“Since I last stood here, our farmers and food producers have come under sustained attack over the fundamentals that underpin their businesses from various pressure groups wanting to curb emissions and limit our intake of meat, poultry and dairy.
“Well I can tell you this now. I will not be joining them. I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with you as custodians of our natural environment and promoting the fantastic, high quality produce you produce, whether that be delicious red meat, scrumptious fruit and veg, or refreshing dairy products.
“In the last year alone, we have awarded more than £100 million of support for our food producers, above and beyond that already given out through vital EU CAP income support funding streams [Pillar 1 & LFASS]. This money has seen school children visit farms to learn about the farm to fork journey, supported new infrastructure from Orkney to Dumfries, promoted Scottish produce at home and abroad, and helped companies offer apprenticeship programmes to enable the next generation of food producers to learn the trade.
“This support is enabled by our continued membership of the EU, which the UK Government’s current approach to Brexit is putting at risk. Farmers, crofters and food producers have a central role to play in producing the food we consume, but also in protecting the environment and promoting a healthy balanced diet.
“But this support also means we need to adapt to take a more resilient and self-sufficient approach to farming, that encourages more people to run more profitable and diverse businesses, that promotes a more integrated, sustainable land use. So in future we need to support change in practice and culture, so that future generations can continue to live and work the land.”