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Summit for dairy industry

Published: 9 Mar 2016 12:56

Key figures to explore ways to help sector.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead will chair a summit of key figures to consider the issues affecting the dairy sector in Scotland.

Representatives from the Scottish Government, NFU Scotland, processors, retailers and finance sectors have been invited to the Scottish Parliament. They will discuss what more can be done to help the sector and how we can build on the progress made under the Scottish Government's diary action plan.

The Cabinet Secretary, who recently extended funding to assist dairy farmers on Bute, believes it is vital that action is taken to help the sector during these difficult times.

He said:

"Scotland has an envied reputation for the quality of our food and we produce some excellent cheeses, butter and milk. However, our dairy sector is facing a number of on-going challenges including low prices which have resulted in hardship for many producers.

"I recognise that much of the current difficulty stems from unfavourable global market conditions but I believe that progress can be made on a number of areas that, collectively, would help increase the resilience of the sector, which is why I am inviting key industry figures to meet me to discuss what further steps that can be taken to help the sector, building on the dairy action plan I published last year.

"Earlier this week I agreed that the Scottish Government would provide an additional £30,000 of funding to dairy farmers on Bute to go towards the cost of tankers returning empty on ferries to Bute from the mainland."

Last year the Cabinet Secretary launched the Scottish Dairy Action Plan which took into account the recommendations made by the Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee following an enquiry into the industry. Its key objectives were to promote market development, best practice in the dairy farming, promoting a transparent and efficient supply chain, supporting producers across Scotland and ensuring international rules are correct.

Additionally, the Scottish Government has provided funding of £400,000 to the Campbeltown Creamery, set up a Dairy Growth Board and launched the Scottish Dairy Brand to increase awareness of the sector overseas.

The Cabinet Secretary will chair the meeting that will be held on Tuesday in the Scottish Parliament.