Union Launches Pre-COP26 Video to Celebrate Sustainable Scottish Farming

President takes viewers on scenic and factual tour illustrating industry contribution to food production, tackling climate change and biodiversity enhancement

Farmers and crofters throughout this magnificent country are not only providing us with fantastic nutritious food and drink but are doing so in a fashion that puts Scotland at the forefront when it comes to climate change, the environment, and economic return.

That’s according to a pre-COP26 personal video message recorded by NFU Scotland’s President Martin Kennedy – available to view at:

In the video, the President pays tribute to consumers, thanking them for their growing support throughout Covid, resulting in strengthening sales of local and sustainably produced food and drink.  He outlines how important the world-renowned food and drink sector is to the Scottish economy and points out the huge steps being taken at farm and croft level to tackle climate change and address biodiversity enhancement.

He also calls on greater political support to recognise the huge challenges faced by the sector including damaging trade deals, the labour crisis, soaring input costs like fuel and fertiliser and lack of recognition and appreciation given to food security.

During the video, Mr Kennedy, speaking from his hill farm in Highland Perthshire states: “A massive thank you to our consumers who are now more aware than ever about the value of local Scottish food production.

“Sales through supermarkets, farm shops, butchers, greengrocers, farmers’ markets and online of Scottish meat, dairy, fruit, veg, eggs and more have all grown throughout this pandemic and the strengthening support we have received through this difficult time has been hugely appreciated by all farmers and crofters.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has focused our minds on how important food security is. Just a few decades ago, the nation was 80% self-sufficient in food. This has now dropped to 60%. That is dangerously low, and unless we are incredibly careful, we will be at the mercy of other nations across the world to produce our food for us and, in many cases, it will be produced with less care and attention to climate change, biodiversity, and animal welfare.

“As we prepare to welcome the world to Glasgow for COP26, inviting them to taste some of the best food and drink on the planet, let me reassure everyone that farmers and crofters understand they will have to do more in the future to meet the climate change targets ahead. But let us not forget that from a global perspective, we are starting from a great place, and we are on the right road.

“Between 1990 and 2018, agriculture saw a 15.9% reduction in net emissions, Methane and Nitrous Oxide emissions fell by 18% and 14.8% respectively and we now know that our managed permanent and rough grazing pastures in Scotland hold around 172 million tonnes of carbon.

“Looking at biodiversity, in 2018 Scottish farmers managed the equivalent of 36,000 rugby pitches under ecological focus areas. In 2019, over 3,000 farms, crofts and estates also managed land under agri-environment climate schemes to benefit biodiversity.

“And we remain at the heart of the Scottish economy. Scottish agriculture directly employs more than 67,000 people, and this goes wider into the food and drink sector where 360,000 jobs are supported. That makes our world-famous Scottish food and drink the nation’s biggest economic driver worth a staggering £15bn.

“At COP26, we will talk a lot about energy. I do not think that there is any energy more important than the quality of food we consume. Without it, we cannot survive and if we rely on imports from other countries that do not share our concerns around climate, biodiversity, and animal welfare, then Scotland will not survive either.”  Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 07788 927675

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 128/21

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