Two North-East MSPs have accused the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of twice ignoring a letter sent calling for assurances for farmers in future post-Brexit trade deals.
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin and Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson wrote to Michael Gove in August after discussions were held by members of the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) at the Turriff Show.
After receiving no reply to their first letter, it was sent for a second time.
During the meeting with politicians at the Turriff Show, farmers expressed concern that standards of animal health and welfare, safety and production should be protected after the UK leaves the European Union.
But two months on, Mr Gove’s department has failed to respond to the concerns highlighted in the letter sent in August and again in mid-September.
In the correspondence, the two North-East MSPs said: “The Scottish brand is of vital importance to our food and drink industry and is synonymous with quality. That quality is the result of the effort and skills of our producers, as well as the rules and regulations to which they must adhere.
“Farmers we have spoken with have expressed their view that standards of animal health and welfare, safety and production must be protected and the current standards should be maintained after the UK leaves the European Union.
“We therefore ask that you undertake to ensure that any future trade deals granting access to the domestic market require that incoming produce is subject to the current animal health and welfare, safety and production standards applicable to Scottish farmers.”
Commenting, Ms Martin said: “Farmers are still in the dark about what future trade deals will mean for them post-Brexit.
“Industry must have a strong voice in shaping the future of trade upon leaving the European Union.
“The voices of this community cannot simply be left to the wayside by the UK Government and we must have clarity on what the impact is going to be for issues around the health and welfare of animals and equipment.”
Mr Stevenson added: “Rural communities like the ones we represent rely on the farming industry. Mr Gove cannot simply ignore the concerns of the sector. The Scottish brand is too important to leave with so many unanswered questions.”