5 June 2018

Statement: A Future Strategy for Scottish Agriculture

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): I draw members’ attention to my ownership of a very small registered agricultural holding.

Can the cabinet secretary clarify whether the champions’ vision and recommendations apply only after we have left the EU or whether there are some that we can start work on before then?

The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity (Fergus Ewing): I can confirm that the champions’ recommendations apply to the future, whatever it may hold. That is why I am surprised that the Conservatives do not appear in the slightest bit interested in the work that has been done by those leading figures in Scottish rural life—it is very sad, really. The champions have a great deal to say about the future, on sustainability, productivity and skills.

They have a lot to say about the need for new entrants, the need for increased productivity and the contribution that farmers already make to the stewardship of the environment, which is of course one of their twin main purposes. I commend to every member, as Mr Stevenson obviously would, that they read carefully the contents and recommendations of the report, which are extremely valuable in forming a pathway ahead for Scotland, whatever happens in relation to Brexit.

Stewart Stevenson
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