SCOTLAND, UK - Scotland has had a record-breaking success from food and drink recently, but the National Farmers' Union in Scotland (NFUS) has said that the rewards need to be better shared with producers.
NFUS was reacting to an announcement from Scottish Government that growth in turnover for Scotland’s food and drink sector is at a record high of £14.3 billion for 2013.
That positive news is in stark contrast to the difficulties being endured at farm level this year, where extreme price pressure, challenging weather, lower levels of support and increased red tape are challenging confidence in the sector.
The Union has called on the Scottish Government to urgently progress its ‘Fairer Framework’ initiative to drive forward fundamental change in the way retailers and the food service sector treat those who supply them with their goods.
NFUS President Allan Bowie said: “While turnover for Scotland’s food and drink is at a new record high, the reality is that incomes for those at the start of the chain are heading in the complete opposite direction.
“These figures indicate that there are significant parts of the supply chain that are doing well out of the Scotland Food and Drink success story.
"While that is positive, it is vital that they fairly share the rewards with those doing the hard work on the ground and don’t simply step back and allow farmers to take all the risks.
“Scottish farmers rightly see themselves as being at the heart of our successful food and drink sector and in recent weeks many of our sheep and dairy farmers have been happy to speak face-to-face with consumers about the hard work involved in putting food and drink on the table.
“But unless Scottish Government, retailers and other parts of the food chain wake up to the damage that poor prices are currently wreaking on farmers, then the amount of raw material available from our primary production base of family-run farms will be eroded.”ThePoultrySite News Desk