NFU Scotland is calling for political party manifestos to reflect the role farming, crofting and food production have on the national interest.
It comes as issues of food security in relation to the cost of living, economic growth and environment are expected to become the forefront of UK political debate before the next general election.
NFU Scotland say that agriculture and food production need a profitable agriculture sector if farmers and crofters are expected to perform the required “heavy lifting” around food production and climate and environment adaptation.
They are calling on all parties to include a manifesto pledge that will increase the agricultural budget, currently £3.7 billion per annum, by at least £1 billion for the next parliament term.
NFU Scotland’s director of policy Jonnie Hall said: “Food and farming have always had a unique role in the national interest, but it is no longer just about putting healthy, safe and nutritious food and drink on the table.
“Agriculture is going to be asked to do considerably more in the future. Policymakers and politicians must recognise that, and the budget must reflect it. Delivering public goods in the public interest demands public investment.
It comes as NFU Scotland anticipates their own political manifesto for the coming year. The plan to ramp up engagement with all major Westminster parties from the New Year, aiming to put forward a strong case for additional farming support as a top priority.
Mr Hall elaborated: “Unprecedented global events in recent years, including pandemics and wars as well as more extreme weather, have highlighted how fragile our food supply chains are and how vulnerable we can become if we don’t invest in our own ability to deliver on food security, climate ambitions, nature restoration and our rural communities – simultaneously.
“With the current spending levels only guaranteed for the lifetime of the current parliament, a new budget commitment will be required for at least the period from 2025 to 2029. A new, increased, UK agricultural budget must be structured around high-quality production, environmental ambitions and rural resilience – all underpinned by an active and effective agricultural industry.”