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Scotland’s Farmers Will Play Their Part in Addressing Food Security Concerns

Union calls for moratorium on support scheme rules to allow crops to be grown on ecological focus area land

NFU Scotland continues to offer support to fellow farmers in Ukraine as the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion deepens.

The farming community’s thoughts are firmly with the Ukrainian nation at this dreadful time, and it is already apparent that the aftershocks of the crisis will be felt well beyond the conflict.



The importance of Ukraine when it comes to agriculture and food production is becoming more and more clear.  With global supply chains already highly vulnerable, and many countries around the world reliant on Ukraine's agricultural produce as well as Russia’s food, fertiliser and gas supplies, a rise in grain prices or a significant drop in production is certain to have huge knock-on effects for food consumers as well as food producers.

Concerns over future supplies have seen wheat futures hit a 14-year high and the wheat market has jumped more than 40% in the last week.  Domestically, farmers are being quoted wheat prices of more than £310 per tonne.  

To help improve the resilience of food supplies, NFU Scotland has written to the Scottish Government calling for a moratorium on support scheme rules that take land out of food production.  The Union is asking that more land in Scotland be made available for food production considering the uncertain impact on global food supply the war in Ukraine will cause.

NFU Scotland’s President Martin Kennedy said: “Nothing can eclipse the scale of the humanitarian crisis currently being experienced and witnessed in Ukraine.  It underlines the fragility and the vulnerability of people everywhere.

“The economic and food security implications of the current crisis pale into insignificance when set against the suffering we’re all witnessing.

“The human cost of the invasion within Ukraine is already tragic, but the possibility of other potential impacts due to the country's importance to the global agriculture market can be neither understated nor ignored.

“We are in very challenging and extraordinary times and Scotland’s farmers want to play their part in any national or European effort that looks to address the growing concerns around future food security.  A moratorium on current Scottish support scheme rules that take land out of production could temporarily release an area of land equivalent to 25,000 rugby pitches to grow cereals, nitrogen-fixing protein crops such as peas and beans or grass and forage for livestock.

“While there is a clear desire to help, the biggest stumbling block facing farmers is the rocketing cost and availability of inputs. Fertiliser and fuel prices have more than doubled in the past 12 months to record levels, turning crop production plans upside down.  

“The actions of Russia and the counteractions of wide-ranging sanctions and restrictions represent a further major concern because of the effect on oil, gas and fertiliser availability. Inevitable supply disruption will stretch availability of the inputs needed to grow crops to breaking point, let alone affordability.”  

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 07788 927675

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 18/22


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