Food points appear to have featured excessive on the agenda so far in 2008. Tv programmes starting from Jamie Oliver and the plight of chickens to 淜ill it, Cook it, Eat ithave all sought to focus on our production strategies. Hungry for success, the healthy consuming programme in schools, is doing effectively at main degree however might do higher at secondary degree. Scotland Food and Drink, the brand new organisation to come back to fruition on account of Scottish Food and Drink, goes to carry its 1st national convention and if all that isn’t enough, Richard Lochhead the Cabinet Secretary has introduced his intention of creating a Nationwide Meals Coverage for Scotland.
The cynic in me tells me we’ve seen all of this earlier than. Countless speaking shops and quangos spouting motherhood and apple pie, whilst using large quantities of taxpayer money and reaching little or no. Multiple retailers will nonetheless ultimately rule the roost, doing essentially what they please with processors and primary producers dancing to their tune earlier than many surrender to the exhaustion of bankruptcy, takeover or simply fade away. Authorities won’t ever fairly put its cash where its mouth is and the hardy successful exceptions representing a minute a part of the Scottish meals business shall be feted as heroes with the magic answer. It will all be achieved against the background of blaming Brussels for all our woes and a potential credit score crunch.
The optimist says unbelievable; we now have a new regime that’s lastly going to grip all these diverse teams that together make up the Scottish food and drink industry. We now have found someone to make sure a fair crack of the whip to all components of the meals provide chain. We have somebody with the imaginative and prescient and leadership to ensure that there is a constant provide of high quality produce to sell each at residence and abroad. Solely Government with access to the necessary environmental and production levers can do that, particularly in our less favoured areas. Solely they’ll stabilise sectors topic to large pressures of cost and pricing reminiscent of milk, pigs and poultry. Solely they can prevent our beef and sheep sectors going into rapid decline.
It would solely occur nonetheless when buyers persistently and usually elect to buy our products and are ready to pay extra for them because they consider they are price it, whether on quality, animal welfare, environmental or production grounds. Tv programmes sensitise people to issues and trigger a big response which is then usually fairly brief lived. It rarely extends to commercial sectors and the general public sector is unmoved by such issues. Our vision and management have to embrace this education backed up with concrete examples. It needs to transcend all governmental departments; health, schooling, enterprise and local authorities; and what’s more is that it requires genuine purchase-in from those concerned. It truly needs to embrace the Governments ambition and make Scotland meals trade contribute to making a wealthier, fairer, greener, healthier, safer, stronger and smarter Scotland.
Michael Gibson is proprietor and director of Macbeth Butchers and Edinvale Farm in North East Scotland. He has held positions with the Meals Requirements Agency and the Macaulay Institute amongst different positions. Meals and Drink
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