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Farm Survey Shows Need for Urgent Action

by 5m Editor
6 March 2009, at 8:02am

SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish government's farm survey figures show a decline across every main sector in Scotland and must serve as a wake-up call to politicians and the supply chain on the shrinkage taking place amongst the nation's primary producers and the likely ramifications for the Scottish food industry, says NFU Scotland.

"The decline is rectifiable and we are working on a number of policy areas which, if given political and supply chain support, could turn around Scottish farming’s fortunes," says NFU Scotland.

When comparing December 2008 figures with those of a year earlier, all parts of the livestock sector show further significant reductions in the numbers of stock being kept. The results also reveal the effect of last year’s dreadful weather on the cereals sector with the area planted in winter crops cut dramatically.

Compared with December 2007:

  • Cattle numbers are down by 2.7 per cent
  • Pig numbers are down by 15 per cent
  • Poultry numbers are down by 3.5 per cent
  • Area of wheat sown is down by 22.4 per cent
  • Area of winter barley sown is down by 9.5 per cent
  • Area of winter oilseed rape sown is down by 11.7 per cent
  • The Scottish agricultural workforce fell by 4.6 per cent

NFU Scotland president, Jim McLaren, said that there are undoubtedly specific problems in certain sectors, notably with upland and hill livestock, dairying and pig farming and NFU Scotland is pursuing policies with the Scottish and Westminster governments to address them.

"Scotland’s ambitions for its food and drink sector are dependent on a sustainable supply chain, with fair rewards for all. It is in the hands of processors and retailers to provide the proper incentives to Scotland's food producers to continue producing. The need for a Supermarket ombudsman has never been greater and the mechanism to help deliver that is in the gift of Westminster," Mr McLaren said.

Further Reading

- You can view the December 2008 Survey of Agriculture by clicking here.