Tha Murray MacLeòid ag ràdh gu bheil cothrom ann taic àiteachais fhaighinn ceart

Tha fios nach tug mòran cus aire dhan deasbad a bha a’ dol ann am Pàrlamaid na h-Alba Dimàirt mu choinneimh lagh ùr a tha Riaghaltas na h-Alba a’ toirt a-staigh.

Chaidh gabhail gu foirmeil ri Bile a' Bhidhe Mhaith, ach cha bu chòir a bhith an dùil ri cus crathaidh.

Tha fhios gu bheil feum air dùsgadh às ùr a thaobh nan rud a tha sinn ag ithe – airson adhbharan slàinte, airson coinneachadh ri feumalachdan na h-àrainneachd agus airson a bhith nas lugha an urra ri biadh bho cheàrnaidhean air feadh an t-saoghail, rud aig am bi dà bhuannachd: a’ cuideachadh iadsan a tha a’ cruthachadh bidhe anns an dùthaich seo fhèin agus a’ geàrradh sìos air truailleadh carbon.

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Chaidh atharraichean a chur air adhart airson na Bile Dimàirt – mar a bhith a’ deànamh cinnteach gum feum buidhnean phoblach 60% den bhiadh ann an òrdughan fhaighinn san rìoghachd seo fhèin, agus còir air biadh fhighe a-staigh dhan lagh – ach cha deach idir gabhail riutha.

Thuirt ministear nan cùisean dùthchail Màiri Gougeon nach robh anns a’ bhile seo ach “frèam” air an tig togail agus gun tig gnìomhan agus pròiseactan mionaideach a dhealbhadh às a dèidh.

Tha fhios gur e tàmailt a bhios ann dhaibh-san a bha an dòchas gur e ath-nuadhachadh a thigeadh le poileasaidh ùr bidhe.

Ach, tha cothrom nas fheàrr a’ tighinnr, agus san t-seadh sin, cha robh anns an deasbad Dimàirt ach beagan de bhlàthachadh.

Ann an 2024, cuiridh Alba an cùlaibh ri Poileasaidh Choitcheann an Aiteachais leis gun tig an t-aonta eadar-amail às dèidh Brexit gu crìch.

Nuair a thig e gu poileasaidhean a bhios toirt taic dha obair àiteachais san àm ri teachd, chan eil dol as air nach bidh barrachd cuideam dha chur air an àrainneachd.

Tha e a’ ciallachadh sa Phàrlamaid an ath bhliadhna gun tig tòrr ùine a chaitheamh air Bile Aiteachais a dhearbhas ciamar a thig taic a thoirt do thuathanaich is croitearan san àm ri teachd.

Tha an siostam mar a tha e an-dràsta cianail fhèin duilich a thuigs' agus tòrr de dhiofar sheòrsaichean taice ri fhaighinn.

Ach, gu sìmplidh, tha iadsan aig a bheil an cothrom as fheàrr biadh àrach a’ faighinn a’ chuibhreinn as motha dhen mharaig, le taic a bharrachd an siud ‘s an seo airson gnìomhan co-cheangailte ris an àrainneachd.

Tha e ciallachadh dhan £600 millean a tha a’ dol gu tuathanas sa bhliadhna ann an Alba, gu bheil a’ mhòr chuid ann an làmhan na feadhna air an talamh as toraiche.

Chan eil dol às air nach bi barrachd cuideam ga chur air an àrainneachd a’ dol air adhart, ach tha cunnart ma thig crathadh bunaiteach gun toir e droch bhuaidh air na thathas ag àrach de bhiadh, rud a bhiodh na cheum mòr air ais.

Tha cliù aig obair àiteachais ann an Alba airson a bhith nas fheàrr dhan àrainneachd na iomadach àite eile agus an uimhir dheth a’ crochadh air beathaichean a bhiadhadh air feur, ach tha aithne ann gum feumar tòrr a bharrachd a dhèanamh.

Tha fìor chothrom ann an seo taic nas motha a thoirt dhaibh-san aig a bheil na duilgheadasan as motha – glè thric an dearbh fheadhainn aig a bheil dòighean obrach a tha math dhan àrainneachd – ach thig gu leòr a chuideam bhon fheadhainn mhòra a tha gam faicinn fhèin mar cnàmh-droma a’ ghnìomhachais.

Le obair àiteachais a’ dol air adhart air 80% de fhearann na h-Alba, a’ toirt cumadh air ar tìr agus a’ cur taic ri coimhearsnachdan dùthchail, tha e duilich smaoineachadh air càil a thàinig air beulaibh na Pàrlamaid a dh’fhaodas a bhith cudromach, no anns a bheil an uimhir de chunnartan a’ feitheamh.

It's doubtful that many people took much heed of a piece of legislation which passed its final hurdle in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

The Good Food Nation Bill will now pass onto the statute books, but don’t expect any great revolution on the back of it.

There is clearly a need for a re-evaluation of what we eat as consumers and what we are presented with to purchase - for health reasons, for environmental obligations and to be less dependent on imports, with its dual benefits of assisting domestic producers and helping the carbon reduction agenda.

A number of amendments were tabled at Stage Three of the Bill on Tuesday - such as requiring public authorities to commit to 60 per cent of foodstuffs from inside the UK in procurement contracts and a more radical “statutory right to food in law” - but were systematically batted aside by the bill’s promoters, the Scottish Government.

Rural affairs minister Mairi Gougeon insisted it was merely a “framework bill” and that detailed actions or plans would have to come at an unspecified time later - no doubt, given how these things work, much, much later.

So those expecting it to mark a revival in bringing food policy issues front and centre - for a whole host of reasons - will be left bitterly disappointed.

But there will soon be a much better opportunity, and in that respect Tuesday’s deliberations were merely a precursor.

In 2024, Scotland, and indeed the whole of the UK, will turn its back on the Common Agricultural Policy with the post-Brexit transition period due to end.

It means that a good portion of next year’s parliamentary time will be devoted to devising an Agriculture Bill that will decide how public support - “subsidies” to use the common reductive term - will be distributed to Scotland’s farmers and crofters.

The CAP arrangements are currently a Byzantium muddle of different strands, largely based on the potential to produce, with top-ups for some environmental actions. It means that of the £600 million per year that the sector gets in support in Scotland, most goes to those on fertile land.

It’s inevitable in the current climate that there will be more emphasis on the environment (that would also have happened under CAP continuation in any case), but there is a real danger that a fundamental re-drawing of the balance will simply hit production and, in the end, be counter-productive.

Scotland’s agricultural sector already has a reputation for good environmental practices, given how much of it is based on livestock systems from grass, but there is still a widespread recognition that much more has to be done.

There is a real opportunity here to better reward those who face the greatest challenge in production and access to markets - often the very ones with better environmental practices - but that will face a very real and determined challenge from those who see themselves as the “engine room” of production.

With some 80 per cent of Scotland’s land mass under some sort of agricultural production, shaping our landscape and our rural communities, it’s hard to think of anything yet to come in front of parliament which is as potentially far-reaching, or anything quite so delicately balanced. But get it right and we will indeed have Good Food.