Funding scheme for producers extended.
Fruit and vegetable growers in Scotland have been given assurance on support over the next two years to help improve the quality, market value and sustainability of their produce.
The Scottish Government has allocated up to £6 million over the next two years to extend the Fruit and Vegetable Aid scheme.
Scottish Borders Produce, East of Scotland Growers and Angus Growers will all receive a share of the multi-year funding, designed to help increase their competitiveness in the supply chain.
The scheme enables producers to work together, using investment and facilities to upscale and gain access to the most profitable markets - which might have previously only been available for the larger, more established producers. That means smaller growers particularly benefit from this support.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:
“Supporting our local fruit and vegetable growers is crucial – for so many reasons. To make fresh, local produce more readily available in local shops, to support jobs in the agricultural sector and to increase our food security as a nation.
“I know that the sector continues to deal with a range of significant challenges and is one of those most acutely affected by Brexit which has caused unnecessary and unhelpful seasonal labour shortages. Most recently, water scarcity has created problems too in some areas, while every part of farming is still having to meet increased costs for supply inputs and energy.
“Continuing this support has arguably never been more important. I hope that by extending the support provided by the Fruit and Vegetables Aid scheme in its current form, we can provide much-needed stability and security to the sector over the next two years. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government will continue to work on giving greater certainty on multi-year funding longer term.”
Scottish Borders Produce Limited Company Secretary Brian Aitchison said:
"We are very grateful for the extension to the support funding available from the Fruit and Vegetables Aid scheme for the next two years.
"As a farmer’s co-operative we continuously work towards spreading crop yield variances and financial risks. The funding extension provides extra stability in a difficult growing environment.
"We continue to attract new members who appreciate the co-operative business model, and this funding helps sustain that co-operation. It is wonderful and re-assuring to see this funding continue for the next two years and hopefully well beyond that."
The EU Fruit and Vegetables Aid Scheme enables officially recognised Producer Organisations (POs), formed on the initiative of a group of growers, to receive financial assistance to help increase their competitiveness in the supply chain.
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