Farmers’ leader thanks public for support

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NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick has written an open letter to Scottish consumers thanking them for their ongoing support for Scottish farmers, growers and crofters during this health crisis.

He states that the backing given to Scottish farming, food and drink throughout the pandemic has been unprecedented and calls on the public to go one step further to ensure that the positive lessons on food security and standards are preserved.

At the start of the pandemic, Mr McCornick pledged that Scottish farmers and crofters would do everything they could to ensure that the nation’s plates and glasses remained full.

That commitment has seen those supermarkets, stores and shops able to trade safely in the past four months rewarded with soaring sales for Scottish produce and growing customer numbers. In a recent trading update, one supermarket chain highlighted that sales had increased by around £1 billion during the 13 weeks to 30 May 2020.

However, there are unconfirmed reports this week that a major food retailer is already looking to its suppliers to change contracts and reduce prices.

In his letter to the public, he writes: ‘With your support, we can ensure that risk and reward across the whole food supply chain – from farmgate to supermarket shelf – is shared fairly. I ask that you to further support our domestic food production by writing to your elected politicians and supermarkets on the importance of domestic production.

‘Highlight that you want our production standards to be protected now and in the future, and that you want enhanced country of origin labelling so that you can buy Scottish or British when given the choice.

‘We also seek your support in calling for retailers to deliver a fairer share of risk and reward to everyone in our food chain. Your backing for home-produced food and drink during this pandemic, and the response of farmers and crofters during the crisis shows that positive change is possible.

‘Small steps can make a big difference and the public has the ability to vote with their feet and support those businesses where the best interests of Scottish food and farming in the future are being served.’