Farmers have been “left in the dark” about their future after the Scottish Government failed to publish a key report, say opposition MSPs.
Scottish Conservative rural economy spokesman Jamie Halcro Johnston questioned the lack of “actual action and concrete policies” from the Holyrood government.
He was speaking out because there has been no sign of a “vital” blueprint for the future of food and farming, which was supposed to have been published last year.
Farmers and our agricultural sector are being left in the dark by SNP ministers who seem to have allowed a draft report to gather dust in a drawer.”
Jamie Halcro Johnston
The Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group was established following a decision by MSPs two years ago.
Its remit was to explore and make recommendations in 2020 on policies, focused on issues such as sustainability, simplicity, profitability, innovation, inclusion and productivity.
Mr Halcro Johnston, a Highlands and Islands MSP, said: “The SNP are world leaders in setting up groups to discuss how to support our farmers, but in reality they have failed to back up these endless discussions with actual action and concrete policies.
“We are weeks into the new year and there is still no sign of this vital report into how they are going to support future food production across Scotland.
“Farmers and our agricultural sector are being left in the dark by SNP ministers who seem to have allowed a draft report to gather dust in a drawer.
“SNP ministers must urgently explain to our farmers why this report has not yet been published and confirm when they will finally do so.”
Role of Covid and Brexit
The policy group included several Scottish Government officials, as well as representatives from the farming and food sectors.
Given the industry involvement in the group, it is therefore inevitable that both Covid and Brexit has significantly impacted upon the group’s work.”
Scottish Government spokesman
A government spokesman said: “The Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group was established as an independent group, comprising of representatives from the farming and food production sectors in addition to environmental and land management representatives.
“Given the industry involvement in the group, it is therefore inevitable that both Covid and Brexit has significantly impacted upon the group’s work.
He added: “We value Scotland farmers and crofters for the work they do in producing internationally-recognised, high-quality food to high environmental and animal welfare standards.
“Scotland’s sustainable future will require the delivery of a range of key priorities, which includes continuing to produce high-quality and sustainable food.
“The sector-specific, farmer-led groups recently established will develop advice and proposals to allow the Scottish Government to effect rapid, transformative change to meet our climate change and biodiversity goals.”