Business / Cash boost for farming welcomed by politicians

Photo: Shetland News

ISLES politicians have welcomed nearly £20 million in Scottish Government payments from the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme.

And they said that lessons learned over the value of the local agriculture industry should be headed and applied once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael said the coronavirus crisis was a reminder of the importance of supporting local farmers and crofters, who will benefit from £19.1 million in scheme payments.

He added: “They are the backbone of our supply chains, keeping supermarkets stocked while normal business is under pressure. It is good news that this support is getting out.

There remain ongoing concerns amongst farmers and crofters. If we are learning lessons about the importance of supporting local, small-scale farming and crofting, that must include a recognition of the need for more consistent support.”

His Lib-Dem colleague Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said that crofters and farmers would be pleased for the financial support and it was all the more important to make sure that crofting and farming businesses in Shetland remained viable.


She added: “The coronavirus crisis has brought into sharp focus how valuable our crofting and farming community is in providing high quality produce. Indeed the benefits of buying local to support our community and reduce food miles are clear to see.”

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said that cash flow could be a “real issue for farm businesses even in normal times.:

McArthur added: “We are obviously far removed from anything that could be described as normal, so the release of this funding is more welcome than ever.

“The current pandemic has forced most people to make dramatic changes in their lives. Some of those changes may even last beyond the current crisis. What is certainly true, however, is that Covid-19 has provided a timely reminder to all of us about how reliant we are on our farmers and crofters producing good quality, local food. That is certainly a lesson that should not be forgotten in the months and years ahead”.

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