Scottish produce 'could help tackle global food insecurity'

Farmers say Scotland's agricultural industry is well placed to deliver amid climate change and biodiversity challenges.

Scotland’s farming leaders say the sector is in a “prime position” to help deliver food on a global scale amid environmental challenges.

The industry is facing challenging times and a call for more support came on the last day of the Turriff Show in Aberdeenshire.

Much of the focus this year was on expectations to deliver sustainable food production, and meet biodiversity challenges.

Farming leaders said despite the pressures, with better recognition, the industry could deliver its produce internationally.

Martin Kennedy, president of the National Farmers Union Scotland said: “We have been asking for a long time that 80% of agricultural support which comes into Scotland needs to come in as direct support. If it’s delivered in that direct support manner, we can deliver what we are trying to achieve in terms of climate and biodiversity.

“Food security globally is becoming a massive issue. Here in Scotland, with the climate we have got here, we are in a prime position – and it’s a fantastic opportunity to produce food, not just for ourselves, but for the rest of the UK.”

Farming leaders say the political landscape remains difficult, with the industry still facing the consequences of Brexit.

The Scottish energy and environment minister Gillian Martin said: “We need to spread the message out beyond rural communities the importance of our agricultural sector. Not just in terms of food security which they are the lynchpin for, but also they are the key to improving biodiversity.

“They are the key to carbon sectorisation and they are the custodians for the Scottish natural environment as well.”

Around 25,000 people enjoyed what is one of Scotland’s biggest food and farming showcases.

Wendy Hunter was one of many Aberdeenshire farmers showing livestock at the event.

“It’s hard. It’s difficult for farmers. I’m not just sure what the future holds,” she said.

“I’m hopeful that we are looked after because we have such a good product in Scotland.

“The farmers dedicate their lives to producing animals like this. It’s such hard work providing quality food for Scotland but that’s what we do.”

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