Protecting food security

Farmer in tractor preparing field for ploughing
Alan Robertson

Ensuring Scotland’s food security by monitoring the supply chain for possible disruption is the focus of a new dedicated Food Security Unit.

Its establishment was a key recommendation of the Short-life Food Security and Supply Taskforce, which was set up by the Scottish Government, together with industry, immediately following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The new Food Security Unit will take forward the legacy activity of the taskforce. It will monitor food system resilience and engage widely so that government and industry are able to react as quickly as possible to any future shocks.

Speaking ahead of a parliamentary debate on Securing a Sustainable Food Supply for Scotland, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“In the recent past we’ve seen several significant events impacting our food and drink sector, including Covid-19, the war in Ukraine and, crucially - the UK Government’s choice to pursue a hard Brexit, which took us out of the EU and the Single Market. On top of this there has been further disruption to supply chains resulting from climate volatility, something that we are likely to see more of in the future.

“I want to ensure we are able to anticipate and adapt to shocks as much as possible, while we develop policies to try to mitigate them and reduce their likelihood. While it is not possible to predict all impacts, our new dedicated Food Security Unit will enable better long-term insight into global supply chain performance - helping us to improve our responsiveness to potential crises. 

“Our farmers and crofters are essential to Scotland’s food security and I am committed to supporting our nation's producers, in the short term, by maintaining direct payments, and in the long term through our new Agriculture Bill and reform programme.”