NFU Scotland has drawn up a list of urgent demands on behalf of its hard-pressed producers, with the promise that “high level delegations” from the union will be in both Brussels and Westminster on Monday next week to seek political support for the measures needed to tackle the current industry crisis.
The Brussels delegation, headed by union president, Allan Bowie, will join the mass protest outside the European Commission, while a second group, drawn from the union’s board of directors, will be in Westminster to meet with Scottish MPs.
Key demands, for both events, include:
- easing cash flow difficulties and strengthening safety nets by ensuring delivery of direct support payments under the new CAP arrangements in December,
- delivery of agri-environment and rural development support in early autumn,
- significantly simplifying the CAP,
- exploring options for long term investment in agriculture through the European Investment Bank and commitment to review the intervention levels for dairy products,
- injecting long term thinking and fairness into the food supply chain at both UK and EU levels,
- ensuring food sourced from outwith the EU doesn’t contravene EU regulations or distort the market place,
- establishing an EU task force to tackle the lamb market and sheep sector and drive forward longer term measures in the dairy sector to provide resilience to extreme volatility,
- developing opportunities for UK produce and UK farmers by significantly strengthening country of origin labelling (COOL),
- increasing funding levels available for promoting Scottish or UK produce in new markets both in EU and non-EU countries, and,
- strengthening investment in farming, research and innovation to improve productivity, efficiency and competitiveness.