McArthur welcomes food security and supply taskforce recommendations

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the recommendations published by the Food Security and Supply Taskforce today and urged the Scottish Government to deliver them urgently.

The short-life Food Security and Supply Taskforce was established by the Scottish Government, jointly with the food and drink industry, in March to investigate and respond to any potential disruption resulting from Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

The recommendations published today include the establishment of a new Food Security unit within the Scottish Government, improved cashflow to individual businesses and farmers and a new food and drink digital gateway to signpost available support.

It comes as NFU Scotland have today warned production on Scotland's farms is set to be scaled back due the trebling of fertiliser and energy prices and doubling of fuel and animal feed prices over the past year.  Orkney's MSP has previously raised concerns about the impact of increased input costs on the farming and fishing sectors and called for urgent action on a four-nation basis.

Responding to the recommendations, Mr McArthur said:

"While the taskforce has found food security and supply to be secure, it is clear from recent global events and the threat of the climate emergency that they are issues here to stay.

"As NFU Scotland have warned today, the exponential rise in feed, fuel and fertiliser costs over recent months is already having serious long-term implications for production in the farming sector, as well as for the overall viability for many farm businesses.  Increased input costs are also having a serious impact on the fishing industry with some boats being forced to tie-up altogether.  

"Given the scale of these challenges, the taskforce is right to recommend new structures in government to better monitor risks, increase resilience and respond more rapidly to future issues.  Moreover, recommendations on improved cash flow and access to support will be critical in the months ahead.

"Scottish Ministers must now move at pave to deliver these recommendations and seek to cooperate more closely on a four-nation and international basis."

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