Scots respond to Efra Committee inquiry

Scottish farming leaders have welcomed the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee’s vision for securing future food security.

NFU Scotland described the Committee’s report on securing food supplies up to 2050, published earlier this week, as a “comprehensive and balanced enquiry”.

NFU Scotland chief executive, James Withers said: “This is a very welcome report, which draws shrewd conclusions and makes equally sensible recommendations, many of which, however, the industry has been soliciting for a long time.

“The Committee’s recognition of a healthy domestic agricultural industry, as an essential component of a secure food system in the UK, will be greeted warmly by farmers, as will its assertion that Defra should do more work to determine which are the most sustainable methods of production to enable consumers to make informed decisions about what they buy.”

Withers echoed the Committee’s call for more money to be spent on research, describing the need to make use of Scotland and the UK’s research facilities and expertise as “imperative”.

He also welcomed the Committee’s call to Defra to press the EU to agree that future regulations be approved only after full evidence-based evaluation of the proposals.

“For many sectors in Scotland, however, the consequences of many of the issues the report highlights have already been felt for some time. Sheep, beef and dairy production has contracted significantly in the past 10 years, largely as a consequence of poor returns, but also because of onerous, unnecessary and costly regulation.”