Agriculture is “critical” to the economy of the south of Scotland, and farmers and crofters must be given more clarity from the Scottish Government on how they will support the industry to make changes in the fight against climate change, according to South of Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy spokesperson Colin Smyth.

Earlier today (Tuesday), NFU Scotland released its latest policy document for the nation’s agriculture and presented a copy to Colin Smyth at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

NFU Scotland said as Scotland leaves Europe and the Common Agricultural Policy, the transition to exit the CAP and adopt a new agricultural policy for Scotland in 2025 must be managed to provide stability and certainty during the 2021 to 2024 period.

In its document, the union has proposed forward-looking measures that it believes must be taken from next year onwards to enable Scottish agriculture to move to even lower carbon and more efficient systems – driving productivity and delivering on environmental and climate change ambitions.

That includes actions to simplify and improve existing schemes from 2021 to provide both certainty for Scotland’s farmers and crofters and be a launch pad for more significant change from 2024.

Commenting on the new NFUS policy document “Stability – The Platform for Change”, South of Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy spokesperson Colin Smyth said: “Agriculture is critical to the economy here in the south of Scotland and the agriculture industry is ready and willing to take action to help tackle the climate emergency.

“However, the fact that stakeholders such as the NFU continue to produce the most detailed and credible policy plans on the issue to fill the vacuum being left by the Scottish Government is a sign of what little leadership Government Ministers are showing on this issue.

“Farmers and crofters urgently need clarity. Clarity not only on what they can expect during the transition period but beyond as a new agriculture support system is developed to help tackle the climate crisis. It’s time the Scottish Government started to deliver that.”

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