Short Life Food Security and Supply Taskforce: report

Report and conclusions of the Short-life Food Security and Supply Taskforce in the context of the situation in Ukraine on 17 March 2022.

Background, context and parameters of the report

Background to the report

The Scottish Government announced, on 17 March 2022, that it had set up a Food Security and Supply Taskforce, jointly with industry, to monitor, identify and respond, principally, to any potential disruption to food security and supply resulting from the impact of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.  A purpose of the Taskforce was to recommend any short, medium and longer-term actions that might be taken to mitigate impacts, resolve supply issues and strengthen food security and supply in Scotland. 

The Scottish Government and industry are obviously very concerned about the impacts of the terrible situation in Ukraine and another key part of the Taskforce’s remit was to consider how the industry could support and provide employment opportunities, for example, to people arriving from Ukraine. 

The full remit of the Taskforce was described in its Terms of Reference.

The Taskforce is co-chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon MSP, and the Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink, James Withers.  It also includes key food and drink industry leaders, drawing on technical and scientific knowledge and expertise from across a range of sectors, agencies and organisations.

Context and parameters of the report

While the primary focus of this report is on the impacts on the food and drink supply chain, as a result of the current situation in Ukraine, it reflects also on pre-existing issues and wider considerations, like overall food security.  This is because the Taskforce recognised that there are a number of issues currently affecting the food and drink sector and are widespread across it.  This includes impacts on the sector linked to EU-Exit, the COVID-19 pandemic and the cumulative effects of rising costs.  The Taskforce recognised that many of the levers, to help address some of those issues, rest with the UK Government.

It should be noted too that some of the issues are outside the scope of the short-life Taskforce.  Those pre-existing issues will undoubtedly, however, have been exacerbated by the Ukraine situation and so the Taskforce recognised that it is not possible to separate them fully from any assessment of the impacts of the Ukraine situation on supply chains.

The relevant recommendations in this report are intended to complement and/or build on activity already underway to address those wider issues and to pave the way for any future work (including on overall food security) that may follow.

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