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Farming: NFU Scotland calls for retailers to add country of origin to online food and drink shopping

By David Porter

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Food and Farming Secretary Thérèse Coffey hosted the event at No10.
Food and Farming Secretary Thérèse Coffey hosted the event at No10.

NFU Scotland joined farming unions from across the UK at Back British Farming Day in Westminster on Wednesday, the eighth annual celebration of the farming industry’s role in producing British food and drink.

Chief executive John Davidson and director of policy Jonnie Hall met with MPs from all parties as they thanked the public for their overwhelming support and recognition of the role the industry plays in feeding the nation and caring for the environment.

The Union believes support and investment in farmers and crofters is critical to ensure our food security, promote a prosperous economy, respond to the climate challenge and help biodiversity recover and flourish.

The Union is looking to the UK Government to progress the backing provided to the industry by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP at his inaugural Farm to Fork summit in Downing Street in May, attended by NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy, where food security concerns were seen as a priority.

NFUS’ John Davidson joined others celebrating Back British Farming Day at No.10 Downing Streetat a reception hosted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Union is also supporting NFU’s #BuyBritishButton petition, calling on those supermarkets with online food and drink shopping to add a Buy Scottish and/or a Buy British tab on their websites.

This will it make it easier for consumers to choose homegrown produce when doing an online grocery shop.

In a recent letter to Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf MSP, NFU Scotland called on the Scottish Government to ensure the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act delivers for Scottish agriculture and the wider food and drink sector through the commitment to a Scottish First policy for local sourcing in the forthcoming National Food Plan. Retailer support in Scotland for an online ‘Scottish’ button for Scottish produce would build on that and help grow sales of local produce.

The Prime Minsiter met with representatives from UK wide agricultural sector at the event.
The Prime Minsiter met with representatives from UK wide agricultural sector at the event.

Speaking after attending his first #BackBritishFarming day, John Davidson said: “With food and drink production across the country contributing more than £100 billion to the national economy, it is fantastic to join in a celebration where both the public and politicians recognise and value the contribution of farmers and crofters.

“As part of the celebration, we very much welcome the petition led by NFU that seeks to stimulate more local sourcing by making it easier for the growing number of consumers who choose to do their grocery shopping online to buy local.

“Our recent letter to the First Minister, where we asked for a ‘Scottish First’ policy to be adopted, builds on our long term asks where we want to collaborate more closely with retailers and those involved in public procurement in Scotland to further support our farmers, crofters, environment and, ultimately, our economy.”

It was also confirmed that the government will also identify opportunities to remove unnecessary burdens for small abattoirs to make it easier for them to operate and support farmers in reaching local and international markets.

This will be supported by a £4 million Small Abattoir Fund – opening by the end of 2023 – to improve productivity, enhance animal health and welfare, and encourage investment in new technologies.

The support for small abattoirs is the latest move by government to increase fairness in the supply chain, with new regulations for the dairy and pig sectors to be introduced next year, and consultations on eggs and horticulture supply chains launching later this year.

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