Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today used a visit to a farm in Lauder to set out new plans for agriculture and rural communities. He wants Scottish agriculture to benefit from growing consumer awareness of food miles.
Alongside South of Scotland lead candidate Catriona Bhatia, Mr Rennie kicked off a week of proposals on the climate emergency by announcing that the party will:
- Work collaboratively to establish a new system of agricultural support which promotes climate-friendly farming alongside the critical work of producing food and providing rural employment.
- Cut food miles by valuing quality seasonal Scottish produce through procurement and helping producers and processors to navigate tendering
- Work across the UK to prevent our markets being flooded with poor quality food that undercuts the goods we produce to high environmental and animal welfare standards.
- 'Croft proof' future agricultural support to make sure active, family farmers and crofters are properly supported.
Scottish Liberal Democrats recently secured £5 million more for agriculture transition funding through budget negotiations with the Scottish Government.
Willie Rennie said:
“Scotland's farmers produce some of the best food. From beef to the berries it's amazing the quality of the products that are grown on our doorsteps.
"The next government must have a renewed focus on ensuring the farmers secure the real benefits of consumer awareness of cutting food miles. The more the food miles the greater the damage to the environment. Cut the miles to boost Scottish farmers.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats want a system that delivers climate-friendly farming alongside the critical work of producing food and providing rural employment. We saw how important food security is at the beginning of the pandemic. Farmers worked day-in day-out to keep food on our shelves and tables when global supply chains seized up.
“In our successful budget negotiations with the Scottish Government we succeeded in securing £5 million more for agriculture transition funding, which rewards farmers for good practices and helps our climate change priorities. Much more support will need to follow in the years ahead to help farmers make the adaptations we all want to see.
"We will work collaboratively to develop a new system of agriculture support that recognises Scotland’s particular strengths and needs.
"If Scotland is to recover from the pandemic, we need every sector running at full capacity, not more barriers, red tape and uncertainty. Our rural areas need a government that would put recovery first."