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Hundreds gather at #FoodNeedsAFarmer rally at Holyrood

Young Alex Rennie (aged 3) joined NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy, Vice President Robin Traquair (right) and Vice President Andrew Connon (left) alongside around 400 farmers at the #FoodNeedsAFarmer rally at Holyrood

AROUND 400 Scottish farmers and crofters gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to deliver a crystal-clear message to the Holyrood, Scottish Government, MSPs and officials that #FoodNeedsAFarmer and farming, crofting and food production must be the central pillar of its new agricultural policy for Scotland.

Farmers and crofters from Shetland to Stranraer – and all points in-between – supported the rally, with many taking the opportunity to meet with their MSPs.

Many politicians also accepted an invite to address the rally including the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon MSP; Scottish Conservative Party leader Douglas Ross MSP; Scottish Labour Party’s Colin Smyth MSP; Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP; Green MSP Ariane Burgess, Rural Affairs Committee Chair Finlay Carson MSP and farmer and SNP MSP Jim Fairlie.

More than 40 MSPs left the parliament building to meet with their constituents.

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The rally at the Scottish Parliament was staged to coincide with Scotland’s farmers and crofters being consulted by Scottish Government on a future agricultural policy for the nation. At the same time as the rally in Holyrood was taking place, NFU Scotland’s Director of Policy Jonnie Hall was at Westminster meeting many Scottish MPs who took part in #BackBritishFarming day.   

Speaking after the Scottish event, NFU Scotland President, Martin Kennedy said: “Farmers and crofters have delivered a clear message that any new policy created by the proposed new Agriculture Bill must put food production front and centre when it comes to delivering all the economic, social, and environmental benefits that all agricultural businesses will be asked to provide.

“At a UK level, we have taken our eye off the ball on energy and look at the mess we have got ourselves into.  We cannot repeat that same mistake with food or the food and cost of living crisis we are all currently enduring will simply get worse.  Food security is now a global issue, and we have a moral obligation to produce it. 

“The ‘win, win, win’ for the Scottish Government is that investing in this nation’s food production will deliver the wider environmental goals we all want to provide. 

“We thank the many politicians who joined our rally today and urge them to take away the message that investing in active farming and crofting will reinvigorate the rural economy at a time when, in many parts, it is shrinking.

“We call on them to acknowledge that active farming and crofting have the answers when it comes to putting high quality, local, sustainable, and affordable food on the table and at the same time delivering for the nation on climate change and biodiversity.

“It is within their gift to deliver a future agricultural policy for Scotland that supports active farming and crofting.  That will build our communities and keep the lights on in rural villages and areas.”

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