Agri sector requires funding certainty
The Scottish agriculture sector requires future funding certainty due to the long term nature of investment decisions and long lead-in time for farmers, crofters and land managers, says Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon.
Ms Gougeon has written to the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Steve Barclay to congratulate him and ask for an early meeting to discuss priorities for Scotland. She said:
“While we were in the EU, we enjoyed the benefit of a seven-year multi-annual framework with Scotland receiving nearly a billion pounds in funding annually to support farming, food production, woodland creation, environmental protection and wider rural priorities. Since Brexit, our funding allocation has been on an annual basis, and shrinking.
“This has direct implications on the management of our existing programme and our Agriculture Reform Programme. It would be a great start to our working relationship if you might commit at the earliest possible opportunity that the UK Government will fully replace EU funds in order to minimise the disruption to rural industries.”
Her letter also raised the issues of:
- Personal imports of animal products
- The Rural Visa Pilot proposal
- Post-Brexit trade deals
She added: “Regrettably, the deals secured with Australia and New Zealand were not in line with our trade strategy, nor the needs or expectations of industry and are likely to impact adversely on Scottish beef and lamb.
We now need to ensure that lessons are learned in time for the conclusion of the Canadian, Indian, and Mexican trade deals, some of which may be entering their final stages, as well as ensuring that traders can leverage any benefits from these deals to help recover from Brexit.”