NSA calls on Scottish Government for “transparency”

NSA calls on Scottish Government for “transparency”

The National Sheep Association has raised concern about a “lack of detail” surrounding the Scottish Government’s proposals for a new Agricultural Bill.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) Scottish Region has responded in full to the recent Scottish Government Consultation: ‘Delivering our vision for Scottish agriculture – proposals for a new Agriculture Bill.’

The consultation discusses food production, climate mitigation, wider rural development,  nature enhancement and restoration, integrated land management and support for the agri-food supply chain.

It sets out a four tiered approach to enable future payments to support those within the sector, which consist of a Base Level Direct Payment, an Enhanced Level Direct Payment, an Elective Payment and Complementary Support.

The need for flexibility in terms of crises, exceptional and unforeseen conditions were also consulted upon, as well as measures such as a ‘Whole Farm Plan’ approach in addition to Cross Compliance Regulations and Greening measures. Animal health and welfare, and biosecurity were also topics of inclusion with data sharing and collection featuring alongside innovation, skills and knowledge transfer.

“We cannot compromise food security nor the ability to afford to feed ourselves in the future.”

Grace Reid, NSA.

NSA Scottish region coordinator, Grace Reid, said that one of the trade body’s “key concerns” going forwards is that all implemented powers and policy should be fair, simplistic, easy to understand and implement, and should follow a straightforward practical approach.

She said: “NSA appreciates the enormity of what is involved in creating a new agricultural policy. However, we find it increasingly difficult to relate to what it entails due to lack of necessary detail in which to make an informed response.

“NSA Scottish Region felt it necessary to stipulate that going forward further clarity, transparency, understanding and two-way communication as a minimum is required to ensure forthcoming policy can deliver upon the needs of Scotland’s sheep industry, agricultural sectors and the wider supply chain to deliver the many outcomes of the future. We all are heavily invested in getting this process right the first time and for it to be beneficial for all.”

Reid went onto say that the nation had become increasingly reliant upon global trade not only for exports but also imports. She said: “We cannot compromise food security nor the ability to afford to feed ourselves in the future.”

She added: “Whilst we enter a period of great uncertainty in terms of new agricultural policy and everchanging financial crises, we have a duty to protect the positive practices in which our flocks already deliver to the wider environment and therefore society as a whole.”

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