AGRI MEP Alyn Smith has welcomed a comprehensive new report for the North East Scotland Agriculture Advisory Group that makes wide-ranging recommendations for improving prospects in the area’s rural sector.
Titled ‘The Land Based Sector in NE Scotland: Facing the Future”, Peter Cook’s report assesses the strengths and weaknesses of farming and land-based enterprises in Aberdeenshire, Angus and Moray, and concludes with recommendations ranging from developing local primary processors, to partnership mechanisms to allow new entrants to ‘buy in’ to existing livestock businesses.
Alyn, Scotland’s voice on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said:
“As the report says, developments in the wider economy have created pressures for agriculture and food processing, with rural youngsters leaving agriculture for the oil industry, and a growth in part-time farmers.
“By improving prospects in the rural sector, we raise the overall ability of the rural economy to thrive with a lower level of public subsidy, such as CAP payments.
“There are some innovative ideas in the recommendations, such as the integration of agricultural and forestry policy to meet carbon targets. The report identifies the lack of a city focal point in Moray as being a weakness, and so recommends the creation of an Agri-Food Hub to share knowledge and business skills.
“I’ve been working tirelessly on agriculture issues in the European Parliament for years now, and the agriculture industry can really help us out with this kind of new thinking.”