The current crisis will influence the shape of the Scottish Government’s future farming policy.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has said the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated to the nation the tenuous nature of food supplies and the critical importance of domestic agriculture.
“I’ve said on innumerable occasions the primary purpose of farmers is to produce safe, nutritious, tasty food,” he said.
“But the message now will resonate very strongly throughout society as a whole because of the fears brought by this crisis, which has brought home the fragility of the supply chain and global export links.
“So it will influence policy in future and I welcome that.
“It is early days to talk about policy beyond Covid, because the whole focus is on that.
“But as a principle, future support payments must be linked to food production – it’s not a dispensable extra, it’s an inherent essential part of the security of society.”
Mr Ewing insisted the crisis had equally highlighted the importance of farm labour, something he predicted would become all too evident over the summer.
He has also called for a “national endeavour” by UK consumers to support farmers by buying produce that would usually be exported and appealed to supermarkets to mount “active and vigorous” promotions of Scotch beef, lamb, pork and other produce that has lost its regular outlets in restaurants and pubs.