The Food and Drink Export Plan is jointly funded by the Scottish Government, industry and Scottish Development International – and will be available for the second phase of the plan which will last from 2019 to 2024.
The award is to be used to help Scottish companies take their products into new and existing markets, and ‘in-market specialists’ will be employed to offer expert advice, forge stronger relationships with buyers and encourage Scottish businesses to develop new products.
£2.7 million of funding comes from the Scottish Government, with a further £0.9 million from Scottish Development International, and £0.9 million from industry bodies such as Quality Meat Scotland, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Opportunity North East; Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation and Seafood Scotland .
Announcing the initiative in Falkirk yesterday, rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland’s food and drink sector has grown year on year, increasing by 78% since 2007. Last year exports reached a record level of £6.3 billion, which is in part thanks to the success of the first phase of the export plan.
But while he stated that it was an exciting time for the sector, Ewing added that the need to explore and exploit international markets had been given extra urgency by the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future trading relationship with its single largest market – Europe.
James Withers, chief executive of Food Drink Scotland said that there were still huge opportunities to increase exports from the expansion in the export sector.
However speaking recently he acknowledged that there was a need to ensure that the additional income generated by the sector filtered its way down to farmers and other primary producers who provided the raw ingredients but often failed to reap the rewards.