The Scottish food and drink sector could improve on its £14.3bn annual turnover, claimed Scottish parliament’s secretary for the rural economy and connectivity Fergus Ewing. He said the scheme would help businesses maximise their potential, and protect against any Brexit threats.
“We recognise even greater opportunities in the domestic food and drink market, and I want to see more businesses taking advantage of the wonderful produce available on their doorstep,” said Ewing.
‘By far the biggest threat to Scotland’s jobs’
“Brexit is by far the biggest threat to Scotland’s jobs, prosperity and economy and we have always been clear that remaining members of the EU, and the Single Market, is the best option for our future.”
A Scottish local food and drink marketing advisory service – Connect Local – was also launched to help food and drink producers to improve communication along the supply chain.
Connect Local project lead Patrick Hughes said the service had been working closely with local businesses in the months building up to its launch. “We aim to ensure that local food and drink businesses are aware of the support available to them, and how that support can help in achieving their growth aspirations.”
Connect Local would also work with businesses to mitigate any Brexit threats, the government said. It also included a specialist programme for seafood firms, in partnership with Seafood Scotland and Scotland Food & Drink.
Ewing said: “New services like Connect Local are supporting the sector to continue as normal so that Scotland continues to be an attractive and a stable place to do business. [It is] fostering partnerships between producers and retailers, and is building local networks to support the growth of more of these relationships.
“It is great news they are now supporting Scottish seafood producers, which will open up more pathways to market for this vital and world renowned sector. Together, we will change behaviour in food and drink production and distribution by increasing the options for local producers to access domestic markets.”
Scottish local food and drink investment – at a glance
- £3M to strengthen local food and drink supply chain
- Aims to boost industry’s £14.3bn annual turnover
- Advisory service, Connect Local, launched to help local food and drink firms
- Investment would be used to tackle Brexit threats