Publication - Factsheet

Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group update: October 2019

Published: 26 Nov 2019

Update from Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group.

26 Nov 2019
Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group update: October 2019

The second workshop reviewed the recommendations from CAP Greening, Agricultural Champions, National Council of Rural Advisors and position papers on future policy from NFUS and SLE. The group also considered the delivery challenges around future policy and started the process of developing options.

We placed productive ‘land based businesses’ at the heart of our deliberations and recognised the need for stepped changed to help address the challenges of climate change and biodiversity decline.

We emphasised that Farming and Food production are integral to the wider rural  and national economy and underlined the need for Scottish Government adopt a joined up approach taking into account production, processing, marketing and the other related income streams including tourism.

We agreed that our vision for 2050 should be  “productive land based businesses contributing to vibrant, sustainable and inclusive rural economies whilst protecting and enhancing the environment”. We also agreed that  public funding should fairly reflect the public benefits (social, economic and environmental) being delivered. 

The importance of engaging fully with a wider audience and providing a clear evidence base is very much to the fore in our thinking. There is a massive amount of information available to digest and we are committed to making available easy access fact sheets that explain the need for change.

We recognised the need for future policy to be informed by a clear intervention logic that delivers broad outcomes underpinned by a system that facilitates innovation and promotes collaboration through the supply chain. We also highlighted the importance of robust monitoring and evaluation frameworks to be agreed alongside a clear and reasonable transition period.

Ideas being discussed include:  

  • ‘business planning’, for individual or multiple units, supported by advisors. Central to this approach is the desire to respect geographical variation, encourage innovation invest in knowledge transfer and promote collaboration as a means of transitioning to long term viability
  • strategic land-use planning, at a regional level and how that might help think through different geographical opportunities and challenges 
  • the need for income stabilisation tools against unexpected weather events and further discussion on how best to protect farmers in a volatile climate where weather events can have serious economic impacts
  • the potential for “baseline payments” for rural businesses as a way of helping retain remote rural populations
  • the importance of exploring different “private sector investment” models to help drive market based solutions

Next steps for 22 November workshop

In preparation we have asked Scottish Government officials for:

  • more clarity around the magnitude of change required and by when
  • a road map showing all the numerical obligations in statute or policy ambition 
  • show geographically where there is most capacity/need for change
  • a series of high level policy options for discussion