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Scotland’s Role in Feeding the Nine Billion

NFU Scotland, the nation’s leading farming organisation, which represents 9,000 Scottish farmers, crofters, growers and other rural businesses, has welcomed today’s publication of the Foresight report on Global Food and Farming Futures and highlighted the role Scottish farmers are already playing in feeding people while maintaining Scotland’s famous landscape.

Today’s Foresight report which highlights Scotland’s ambitious aim of reducing all greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020 (compared to a UK target of 34%), also explores a number of themes, including ensuring affordable food supplies; stability in food prices; that food production mitigates against climate change; the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystems, and ending hunger.

Some of the 400 experts who contributed to the paper are based in Scotland and are in regular contact with NFUS representatives. NFUS is also building on the ‘Producing more with less’ document which it published earlier this year as a joint commitment on climate change with QMS and SAOS.

NFUS is also adamant that the good work taking place on farms to ensure a continuous and sustainable supply of food is not being reflected in the marketplace and that it is just as important that the nation’s supply chain be reformed in order that this good work can be continued.

NFU Scotland’s President, Jim McLaren commented on the report, saying:

"This hugely important and influential report must drive the issues of food security and sustainable agricultural production to the very top of the political agenda.

"The good news is that for Scottish farmers to play their part in meeting the future food requirements outlined in this report, it will require evolution rather than revolution.  Scotland already has a proven ability in producing quality food in a way that protects and enhances the environment upon which that very production depends.  The joint industry commitment on climate change, delivered by NFU Scotland, QMS and SAOS last year, clearly highlighted that Scottish agriculture can effectively meet food security demands whilst maintaining the countryside and doing so with less environmental impact per unit of production than it has ever done before. 

"The reality is that Scottish farmers are already delivering on the report's central theme of a "sustainable intensification of farming".  Improving efficiency and reducing waste on Scottish farms has already seen our farmers produce more food while using fewer inputs.  At this moment in time, the biggest barrier to that positive trend continuing is the dysfunctional nature of many of our supply chain arrangements.  It is absolutely essential that producer commitment to efficiency and sustainable farming is met with a similar commitment from the marketplace.

"The importance of science and technology in mitigating the impact of climate change while allowing the agricultural industry to meet the huge demands on food production decades from now are also well explained in the report.   While difficult decisions may lie ahead with regard to the uptake of technology such as GM, it is crucial that the debate on such issues gathers momentum and that science rather than emotion dominates the discussion."

NOTES TO EDITORS

For a copy of the Foresight Global Food and Farming report, please follow this link:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/foresight/our-work/projects/current-projects/global-food-and-farming-futures

The joint NFUS, QMS and SAOS paper, ‘Producing More with Less’ is available at: http://www.nfus.org.uk/uploadedFiles/Campaigns/Climate_Change.pdf

Ends

Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 07/11


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