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Farmers and crofters tackling food security crisis

NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy

NFU Scotland continues to put food security front and centre of its lobbying priorities.

As NFU Scotland’s officeholder team – President Martin Kennedy and Vice Presidents Andrew Connon and Robin Traquair – begin a two-day visit to Westminster, the Union remains committed to highlighting the growing impact that surging costs linked to fertiliser, fuel, energy, animal feed and labour are having on the nation’s ability to produce food. 

The Union is also continuing to push all supermarkets to support domestic production or run the risk of not having domestic production to support.

In a hard-hitting blog published today (26 April), President Martin Kennedy writes: “This perfect storm – and I don’t use the term lightly – driven by Brexit, Covid and now the dreadful war in Ukraine will have repercussions for years to come. We will continue to play our part as food producers, but we simply cannot do that without proper support and prices for the quality we produce.

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“While farmers and crofters can see this food security issue coming at us, there are many who, sadly, are far too blinkered and only interested in the short term.

“For far too long, we have not paid nearly enough attention as a nation to the most important energy source we rely on, which is food, and unless governments and supermarkets wake up soon, we will be looking at food security concerns that we haven’t seen since World War Two.

“Agriculture is a long-term industry.  We continually plan years ahead whether it’s to do with soil health, crop rotation or livestock improvement and it is absolutely essential that we put long term plans in place that enable productive agriculture to feed our country.

“As we look ahead, we can plainly see that unless we act now and ensure our domestic production systems continue to deliver, we will see real food supply problems in the not-too-distant future.

“Energy costs are soaring across all sectors.  Agriculture is no different and when you look at things like the cost of fertiliser which has had a 300% increase, it’s little wonder farmers across all sectors are looking to pull back on production.

“Add into the mix animal feed, fuel, energy and labour costs and it’s plain to see why we are seriously concerned, not just for the survival of our primary producers but also for the whole supply chain both upstream and downstream who rely on the critical mass of production to keep their and other businesses in the rural economy afloat.

“So, what can we do?  Our local council elections give us all a chance to raise the serious issue of food security. We are already working with local authorities to promote local sourcing for public procurement, and this must be at the core of the Good Food Nation Bill as it continues its journey through Scottish Parliament.

“I would also ask you to vote with your feet when it comes to purchasing food to ensure you are supporting Scottish and British products.  That way we might have a chance of not only retaining our own food supply, but by doing so, we will also maintain the environment and landscape we have here in Scotland that’s the envy of many across the world.” 

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