South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth has welcomed Scottish Government’s decision to offer loans to allow farmers early access to their annual payment from the EU, but warned that far more needs to be done to support the industry following the impact of the recent dry weather.
Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth said:
“This long overdue announcement is welcome but doesn’t go far enough. Farmers have been warning of a crisis for months now, with grass growth at a standstill and hay and silage crops in some cases just half the normal level.
“The shortages and spiralling prices for feed are hitting all sectors and both the Scottish and UK governments have to step up and do more.
“This announcement does not cover crucial Pillar 2 payments. The Scottish government must work to bring forward the payment of these schemes as a matter of urgency.
“Beyond this, they should request a derogation of the 3-crop rule from the European Commission, shorten the EFA fallow period, and relax rules on the ploughing of ‘Green Manure crops’.
“From the relaxation of these rules and more incentives to boost animal feed supplies, there is a lot more that government can and must do to avert this crisis.”