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A group of leading businesses and organisations in Scotland's fruit, vegetable and potato industry have come together for the first time to create an ambitious new growth strategy for the sector.
Announced over the weekend, Planting the Seeds of Growth identifies the key recommendations to grow the fruit, vegetable and potato sector by 2030, bringing not just economic benefits but benefits to the nation’s health and to the environment. This move by the sector compliments Scotland's food and drink strategy, Ambition 2030, which aims to double the value of the industry by 2030.
This plan for growth is based on four main elements and for each of them, there are a number of specific recommendations which are within the power of the industry and its stakeholders to deliver. The elements are:
- Seeking to add value at all points
- Collaborating and innovation along the supply chain and in partnership with the public sector
- Developing a plan for people and skills in the sector
- Understanding and targeting opportunities for markets, products, crops and more
The Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Industry Leadership Group (ILG) is the driving force behind the strategy which has been developed after industry-wide consultation with input from over 100 businesses and stakeholders in the sector.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“Scotland has some of the healthiest, freshest and highest quality produce anywhere in the world and there are exciting opportunities ahead for our growers and producers across the fruit, vegetable and potato sector.
“There is no doubt that we face challenges, particularly relating to Brexit, but this sector has huge potential if we can increase consumption, displace imports, and capitalise on our reputation internationally.
“The strategy provides a clear ‘road map’ for achieving those aims, to the benefit of farmers, consumers, and the wider rural economy. The sector is also key to our wider efforts to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, particularly our children and young people, and I look forward to working with the sector to take forward the range of actions.”
Allan Bowie, Chair of the Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Industry Leadership Group, said:
“There is huge potential for our fruit, vegetable and potato sector to grow and by bringing leaders from across the industry round the table, we are proud to present this ambitious strategy which is the result of 12 months hard work.
“We recognise that the fruit, vegetable and potato sector in Scotland is diverse and each sub-sector has its own distinct challenges and opportunities. But we believe that if the sector works collectively with a focus on skills, innovation, strengthening the supply chain and developing markets the sector can carve its place in Scotland’s food and drink success story.”
James Withers, Chief Executive at Scotland Food & Drink, said:
“This new strategy will act as a catalyst to drive growth in the fruit, vegetable and potato sector and we want to forge a strong partnership between industry, government and its agencies to unlock the potential outlined in this strategy. The twin opportunity here is to drive profitable growth for every part of the supply chain, whilst also trying to drive increased consumption of healthy Scottish products.
“There are a number of uncertainties facing us, not least the implications of Brexit and access to labour. But we can’t stand still. This strategy provides the sector with a clear roadmap for success and now the real work begins. We will be working closely with industry and partners to scope out the requirements of each recommendation and develop clear actions and objectives for each one.”