With just 4 weeks left until May 5th when Scotland elects its fifth Parliament, this week we’re focusing on our third policy ask: Investing in the future of our farming.
You can also have a look at all 6 Election Asks here, please use these asks to initiate conversations with candidates wherever the opportunity arises, and support Nourish to make sure that a fairer and more sustainable food system is a priority for the next Scottish Government.
We believe that many of our current farming and food systems are broken. The Common Agricultural policy has dominated decisions about what we produce and how we produce it. Our farming systems don’t link into decisions about how we should feed the nation, about how to develop more resilient communities or achieve our climate change targets. Our current focus on intensive food production for export markets does not sit well with other government policies on food, public health, social justice or the environment.
What would a future farming system look like?
We think that our farming system should deliver 3 aims:
- Feeding our people: producing high quality, healthy, sustainable, traceable, products that feed us well.
- Environmental Stewardship: protecting and enhancing our natural resources (water, soil, carbon, biodiversity) so that they can be enjoyed and used by both current and future generations.
- Contributing to our Communities: providing incomes and meaningful employment, contributing to the profitability of the food, drink and tourism sectors, supporting rural communities and connecting people to the land.
All these aims have clear public benefits. We think that any public funding for farming should be given to activities that result in public benefits rather than private gain. Our future farming model must be greener, promote better connections between our producers, consumers and communities and be based on producing healthy, affordable and high quality produce.
How do we get there?
We want to move money within existing farming budgets, a process known as modulation. We want to cap large subsidy payments to big farms and move money away from direct production subsidies and towards payments for delivering these public benefits.
We want to fund measures that would:
- Help new farmers gain access to land and start a career in farming
- Create new short, supply chains based on co-operative models which can give a fair return to farmers
- Invest in the widespread adoption of greener farming techniques like organics or agro-ecology
- Prioritise support for the production and consumption of sustainable, healthy, affordable food
- Invest in research, development and knowledge exchange techniques that will roll out these changes as rapidly as possible.
We also support calls from the Scottish Food Coalition for new framework legislation on food, farming and health and for the creation of a statutory Scottish Food Commission to oversee progress on food and farming issues.
These issues matter to us all – ask your candidates what they will be doing to invest in the future of Scottish farming, and to help our food and farming system become fairer, greener and smarter in the coming years.