Manifesto Sets Out Scottish Agriculture’s Priorities Ahead of Holyrood Elections in May

Agriculture, food and rural issues must be front and centre of political debate as we head towards Scottish Parliamentary elections on Thursday, 6 May 2021.

NFU Scotland’s manifesto for the elections, launched today (Tuesday 2 March) recognises that Scottish agriculture is in a very new and increasingly demanding political, economic, environmental and social context, compounded by the Covid-19 crisis and the UK’s departure from the EU.  Moving out of the shadow of Brexit and the Common Agricultural Policy, the manifesto sets out four priorities for the next Scottish Government and Parliament over the next five years.  Given the right tools and support, Scottish agriculture will deliver the following:

  • A green recovery from Covid-19 that enhances sustainability in food production and enables agriculture to play its role in addressing the climate change and biodiversity crises.
  • A viable and rewarding agricultural sector for current and future generations.
  • A transparent supply chain and food system which supports Scottish producers and recognises the public benefits that agriculture provides.
  • A resilient and enterprising rural economy that offers opportunities for all.

At the launch, recently elected President Martin Kennedy said: “It is more important than ever that the next Scottish Parliament and a new Scottish Government enables a sustainable food production sector, which contributes to climate ambitions, improves biodiversity, air and water quality, and allows all consumers access to fresh and affordable local Scottish produce.   

“We have a proven track record in delivering for the nation.  Scotland’s agricultural sector, as part of the critical national infrastructure for food, has proudly played its part in ensuring food and drink supply chains continued to operate throughout the Covid-19 crisis.  That was achieved against the backdrop of daunting Brexit uncertainty throughout the whole of 2020.

“However, delivering the nation’s economic, environmental, and social needs will be pushed beyond reach unless political will facilitates the need to adapt and change.  Farmers and crofters are ready to play their part but, for the last five years, positive progress on rural policy in Scotland has been stymied by the Brexit debate.

“Moving out of the shadow of Brexit and the CAP, Scottish agriculture will look to the new Scottish Government to work with the sector to deliver a new agricultural policy for Scotland that will deliver our key ambitions.

“Central to that will be addressing the climate change challenge, which will clearly set the policy agenda over term of the next Scottish Parliament.  Necessary emission reductions targets and the ambition to double the value of our food and drink sector to £30 billion by 2030 must be addressed simultaneously, creating the need for the next Scottish Government to ‘invest’ in agriculture to reap the returns required.

“For that to happen, we need the Scottish Government to work collaboratively with UK Ministers on favourable trade deals, and to prioritise our standards of production in these.  We also must ensure the integrity of the UK’s internal market is upheld, as this is critical to Scotland’s agri-food interests.

“It is apparent to all that we are entering a transformational time for Scottish agriculture where we will shoulder more responsibility than ever before.  The industry’s willingness and ambition to adapt and change must be matched by a political agenda that is positive, ambitious and supportive. The next Scottish Parliament and Government must enable and ensure farmers and crofters can deliver Scotland’s needs.”

Notes to Editors

  • A copy of NFU Scotland’s ‘Manifesto for Scottish Agriculture’ that maps out its priorities for the next Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government is attached.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 33/21

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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