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Future of Scotland's food chain
The importance of Scotland developing a resilient food supply chain and growing more of its own produce has been highlighted in a new report.
Mapping and Analysis of the Resilience of the Food Supply Chain in Scotland suggests Scotland is currently dependent on imports. It shows that global food chains may be vulnerable to both short and longer term emergency situations which could disrupt this supply.
The research will be used to help businesses prepare for future scenarios such as flooding, health scares and the impact of climate change.
- Measures in Scotland's new national food and drink policy which aim to address food security include:
- Building capacity and skills to produce food and keep food production at the heart of farming
- Build food security into the delivery of our farming, fishing and aquaculture policies.
- Support the appropriate legal framework to ensure our food and drink producers, processors, retailers and consumers are treated fairly
- Fund new research to help meet the challenges of food security in Scotland and the rest of world
The Scottish Government is also providing advice and additional funding to local producers to help them develop markets for their products and encourage the growth of farmers markets, farm shops and local food initiatives. Work is continuing with the Scottish Retailers' Forum to help producers and processors identify new markets for their products in our supermarkets. And a new Retailers' Charter has been signed by eight of the UK's leading supermarkets.
The Scottish Government's Resilience Advisory Board for Food will now work with Scottish businesses and offer them expert advice in assessing risks, identifying preventative measures, preparing and testing plans and improving links between stakeholders.
Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
"International food shortages, the economic downturn and the recent G8 Summit have undoubtedly pushed the issues of food security, access and affordability up the agenda.
"Our response to previous emergencies - such as Grangemouth - illustrates the importance of being properly prepared for disruption. It's important that we act on the report's recommendations and provide businesses with the guidance and support they need to prepare for potentially difficult scenarios.
"Secure and resilient food supplies are at the heart of our new national food and drink policy. The world is changing. With climate change, an increasing world population, and threats of pandemic disease we know the abundance of a plentiful food supply can't be taken for granted.
"Scotland's food and drink producers have an important part to play not only in our own nation's food security but in that of global food security. To ensure this, we need a thriving food and drink industry. We will ensure that allotments get the support they deserve and produce guidance to help communities and public bodies develop local 'grow your own' initiatives."
The Resilience Advisory Board for Food is made up of representatives from the public sector and the supply chain organisations. It assesses risks and identifies preventative measures and informs the public of food supply problems.
The report was commissioned by the RABS Food Group to identify potential risks across the Food Supply Chain. The study set out to identify vulnerabilities in the Scottish food supply chain in order that effective management can be carried out through established risk management arrangements. It also analysed resilience of the supply chain in order to prioritise and guide subsequent mitigation activities to be managed by RABS Food and identified key contacts and organisations that are either affected by potential disruption or will help speed up response of RABS Food to a particular event.