Food sector discusses ban

Scottish Rural Affairs and Food Secretary Richard Lochhead
Scottish Rural Affairs and Food Secretary Richard Lochhead

Work is on-going across Scotland’s food sector to assess the potential market impact that could result from displacement of produce previously destined for the Russia will have for the sector as a whole.

At a meeting in Edinburgh on August 19, Rural Affairs and Food Secretary Richard Lochhead met representatives from across the food sector and heard how important continued retailer support for the domestic supply chain will be at this uncertain time.

The meeting followed a pelagic industry specific meeting held the previous week.

Many of the actions agreed at that meeting included exploring new export market opportunities, investigating what UK instruments could be used to help Scottish businesses trade in other markets, investigating what EU instruments can be used to alleviate pressure on the supply chain and encouraging retailer and consumer demand for home produce across the UK. All parties at the meeting agreed to work to explore all of these avenues further.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lochhead said: “It was clear that much work is still on-going to fully understand the impact displaced produce from across the EU will have on Scotland’s wider food sector.

“At this uncertain time it is important for the industry that they continue to be supported by the retailers and I will be writing to them to ask that they do all they can to support Scotland’s food producers as the knock-on effects of the Russian trade embargo become clear.

“With Scottish produce being in high demand I am sure there will be opportunities to find new customers and the Scottish Government will continue to work closely with producers to fully maximise consumer demand for our wide array of premium products.

“We will also pursue new emerging markets for products and seek the support of the UK Government and EU to explore all avenues to help and support that could be deployed, including export insurance and wider agriculture support.”