The dairy sector is vital to Scotland's farming and food sector and the wider rural economy. Our 900 dairy farms and 2000 processing employees generate well over £400m of output, 15% of all our farming output. The sector's future is of real importance to Scotland.
The Scottish Government has been working closely with the sector for a number of years to ensure its continuing success. In response to Ambition 2025, a hard-hitting vision for the sector's future, we established the Dairy Growth Board and Dairy Hub to drive forward moves towards a thriving dairy industry.
Today our dairy sector is, however, enduring another period of volatility and poor market returns. The causes are widely acknowledged as being twofold: world supply and demand is out of balance for a variety of geo-political reasons and the profile of milk and dairy products on the home market has been devalued as milk and milk products are used as a loss leader to gain market share.
The action plan aims to improve the resilience of the Scottish dairy sector and provide the right platform to ensure the entire sector can thrive in the context of volatile market prices. This plan amalgamates new and existing activities that the Scottish Government, its agencies and others will take forward together to underpin that aim. It also takes account of the recommendations made by the Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee following its own enquiry into the Scottish Dairy Industry.
The themes set out in this plan build upon the pathway set out in Ambition 2025. The task before us is not to change tack but to accelerate and intensify the steps we are already taking to create a prosperous future for our dairy sector.
I look forward to working with all our partners to deliver this plan.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment
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