SCOTLAND’S dairy sector has the capability to become a global leader, according to Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.
Mr Lochhead was speaking as a review he commissioned into the sector last November reported back with its findings.
Scotland Food and Drink Chief Executive James Withers has made a total of 19 recommendations to achieve sustainable economic growth for dairy in his ‘Ambition 2025’ document.
•targeting key priority export markets to maximise opportunities and trade
•developing an independent Scottish Dairy Bureau to provide information, advice and training
•formalising the structure of dairy producer groups
•a new leadership structure for the sector, with an experienced business leader chairing a Scottish Dairy Growth Board to oversee the development of ‘Ambition 2025’
•emphasising the benefits of drinking milk to improve Scotland’s health
Mr Lochhead said: "James has certainly taken a close and in depth look at the current state of play in the sector and lays out a number of recommendations to consider. It is now important that we look at this report and formulate a plan to help support further growth of Scotland’s dairy sector, and I plan to do this in the next few weeks.
"There is huge potential for Scotland’s dairy industry to become a global leader and we should look to explore any avenue and opportunity that is open to us. The Scottish Government is committed to taking Scottish decisions to address Scottish issues and deliver the best support we can to farmers in Scotland.
"Our dairy farmers are an integral part of a hard working industry who are skilled in producing high quality dairy products to meet a range of market demands.
"The provenance of Scotland’s food and drink is world renowned and at a time when there is a global demand for premium products, this report clearly demonstrates that we can offer consumers at home and abroad a range of dairy products which are of the highest quality."
Mr Withers added: "I was optimistic about the prospects of Scotland’s dairy sector before I started this review, but I am even more so now. I believe by 2025 we will see a transformed industry in this country."