Action plan aims to grow fruit and vegetable sector

Allan Bowie, Fergus Ewing and James Withers from Food and Drink Scotland

An appeal has gone out to everyone involved in the Scottish fruit, vegetable and potato sector to take part in a government-backed action plan to boost the industry.

The sector is already riding high in terms of growth, with fruit production increasing by 86% to £114million and vegetables up 50% to £122million in the last decade. Now, in a bid to continue the trend and double the value of the sector by 2030, the government-backed Fruit, Vegetable and Potatoes Industry Leadership Group (FVPILG) is to produce an industry-driven action plan and has called on anyone with an interest to contribute ideas on growth and how challenges can be overcome.

The group was launched at last year’s Royal Highland Show, and Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing has acknowledged that the implications of Brexit and access to labour remain key challenges.

However he called on the industry to provide “valuable insight” to help the group with plans to grow the sector.

Group chairman Allan Bowie said he was “hugely enthusiastic and optimistic” about the prospects for Scottish fruit and veg but added that to unlock potential growth, it required the whole sector to “pull together”.

“Last year, the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership launched Ambition 2030, the industry-led strategy to grow the Scottish farming, fishing, food and drink industry to £30billion by 2030. This calls for all sectors of the industry to contribute and, in response to this, we are looking to play our part and double the value of the fruit, vegetable and potato sector.”

The group is calling for input on the growth opportunities and challenges in market development, innovation, the supply chain and people and skills.

The survey can be found online here.