'Huge opportunities' in 2014 for Scottish food and drink

NFUS chief executive James Withers
NFUS chief executive James Withers

Scotland’s farming union believes that 2014 will bring “huge opportunities” to strengthen the country’s growing reputation as a land of food and drink.

With the London 2012 Olympics only one year away, NFUS reckons that 2014 – which will see the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and a second “Homecoming” event all taking place in Scotland – presents an outstanding platform to promote sales of Scottish produce.

Lobbying by the union and others has seen the organisers of the London Olympics adopt the “Food Vision” standards that guarantee the majority of food at the games will be UK Red Tractor Assured.

NFUS says it would like to see a similar approach taken for 2014 which would ensure, first and foremost, that Scottish produce is available – and if it can’t be Scottish then it should be British.

The union’s chief executive, James Withers, said: “In three years’ time, Scotland will have a unique opportunity to remind the world of the fantastic range and quality of food and drink it has to offer and it is an opportunity that must not be missed.

“A second year of Homecoming, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and golf’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles provide fitting showcases for our produce and an opportunity to drive forward the Scottish Government’s own food and drink strategy.

“We are at the start of the planning process here in Scotland for these events. However, we want to make sure that, at an early stage, protocols are taken on board by the organisers that recognise the standards being set on Scotland’s farms and the schemes already in place which ensure food and drink is produced here to the highest quality.”

Mr Withers added: “I commend the work undertaken by NFU that has successfully seen the London 2012 Food Vision adopted by the Olympic Games organisers. This sets out benchmark and aspirational standards based on UK Red Tractor Assurance.

“The success achieved in London provides a good template for us to put in place equivalent requirements for these important events taking place here in a few years’ time.”

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