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Farming's role in recovery

FARMING will have a key role helping the country's economy after lockdown ends, says a key industry figure. Writing on the NFU Scotland website, Director of Policy Jonnie Hall says that when the nation's thoughts turn to recovery, it is "crystal clear" that active farming and crofting have vital roles to play. He writes: “If we enable and promote active agriculture, and all that it delivers, it will make a significant and positive contribution to the health, social and economic well-being of Scotland. "That said, we must recognise that Scottish agriculture faces an array of political, socio-economic and environmental challenges but industry is up for it.” Coronavirus rightly dominates but, according to Mr Hall, there are chronic challenges the industry still faces: Brexit; future trading arrangements; labour; future support; dysfunctional supply chains and a new agricultural policy platform. “Lessons are already being learned, and recovery is likely to take many years. Even then, it is certain that we will all have to operate in a very new and different ‘normal'. Scottish agriculture and all that it underpins will have to change and adapt to what is and will be a very new operating environment. It will not be ‘business as usual',” he warns. He adds that within all these challenges and uncertainties there lies opportunity too. The resetting and restarting of food production, processing and distribution, while meeting a raft of major government policy objectives, will provide the catalyst for change. Taking the lead, NFU Scotland's primary goal will be to secure a profitable and sustainable agricultural industry that meets society's needs more than ever before. As a first response, NFU Scotland has initiated four-point plans for different sectors of Scottish agriculture. Each plan looks to establish specific objectives and associated actions for each of the policy phases of the Covid-19 outbreak and beyond – namely response, reset, restart and recovery. “As Scotland begins to think and act to bring about recovery, it's vital that all the interlinked cogs of the rural economy and agri-food supply chains keep moving. The real prime mover, however, and the driver of both upstream economic activity as well as agri-food supply chains, is active agriculture,” concludes Mr Hall. Read the full blog at: https://www.nfus.org.uk/news/blog/director-of-policys-blog-4-may-2020

<< back Published: 04 May 2020, 16:24

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