Farmers not benefiting from food industry expansion

Scotland's food and drink industry has continued to expand, reaching new record levels of £14.4 billion in 2014, but farmers are not benefiting from the increased turnover, according to NFU Scotland president Allan Bowie.

Allan Bowie said farmers deserve a 'fair reward' for the risks they face. Picture: Contributed

He said that, while it was good news for Scotland’s economy that the value of the food and drink sector was now at record levels, farmers and crofters were increasingly angry and frustrated that they were failing to get their fair share of this good news story.

The division between the end value of food and the rewards primary producers were getting was growing rather than shrinking.

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Food and drink sector hits £14.4bn annual turnover

“For the third year in succession, incomes for Scotland’s farmers and crofters will fall,” Bowie said.

“That is a sad and worrying statistic that all with an interest in the nation’s food and drink sector need to take heed of. Farmers are rightly proud of what they do and the world-leading standards they meet but they deserve a fair reward for the risks they carry every day.”

He added: “Scotland’s reputation for food and drink is continuing to grow at pace, employing 116,000 and now valued at £14.4bn. It is time those at the start of this growing food and drink industry shared in this success story. Primary producers are the foundation stone of the food and drink industry and they are integral to its continued success.”

Looking forward, Bowie said that Scotland Food & Drink was starting to formulate its strategy for 2030. This would be launched next year.

“For the sake of primary producers, that must present an opportunity to push for collaborative food chains that genuinely share risks and rewards amongst all stakeholders.”