Funding for food industry

Multimillion pound award to food processors.

Food and drink companies, large and small, will benefit from more than £4.6 million of funding Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has announced.

The latest round of Food Processing, Manufacturing and Co-Operation grants will enable 15 projects to take their businesses to the next level by supporting new products and extending existing lines, or building new facilities – safeguarding 820 and creating 90 new jobs.

Speaking ahead of AgriScot 2017, which provides the best opportunity to spend time with a wide range of farming, food and supply businesses,  Mr Ewing said:

“Our food and drink industry is world-renowned for the quality of our wonderful natural larder, and is a key contributor to Scotland’s economy. This investment of more than £4.6 million will benefit famers, meat packers and bakers across Scotland and further demonstrates my continuing commitment to supporting and growing that contribution.

“Not only will this funding help to create 90 new jobs, it will help safeguard 820 posts in our rural economy and help our food and drink companies expand their businesses and the products they offer.”

This round of funding will see Dumfries and Galloway based meat processing company, Brown Brothers Manufacturing Ltd, extend their premises and purchase new equipment to make them more competitive, safeguarding 567 full time posts and creating 50 new jobs.

Brown Brothers Managing Director Alan Hill said:

“Working in partnership with local and national government will enable an already successful business like Brown Brothers to grow quicker and create further economic development within Dumfries and Galloway and Scotland.

“With the support of Food Processing, Manufacturing and Co-Operation grants funding and enabling work by Dumfries and Galloway Council, we will construct a new energy efficient extension to our meat processing facility and install state of the art production equipment. This will allow us to efficiently increase our throughput capacity and offer a ‘one stop shop’ for our customers in fresh, chilled and frozen cooked meats.  This will provide long term job security and job creation.” 


Food Processing, Manufacturing and Co-Operation grants scheme (FPMC) is part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme 2020 and is jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the European Union.

The full list of successful bids is as follows:

Organisation Grant Project
James Taylor & Son £140,198.05 Equipment upgrade
Thomas Elder £39,788.40 Equipment upgrade
D A Baillie & Sons £98,076.00 Equipment upgrade
Castleton Fruit Ltd £291,046.98 Equipment upgrade
J P Gray & Sons £230,919.89 Facility upgrade
M A & M P Stockwell £729,888 Equipment upgrade
Caledonia Cider Co. £51,337.74 Facility upgrade
The Start-Up Drinks Lab £14,938.40 Equipment upgrade
Trade Solutions (Scotland) Ltd £390,433.27 Facility upgrade
WFM Brown Ltd £146,207.67 Facility upgrade
Ardgowan Distillery Company Limited £982,723.04 Facility upgrade
Brown Brothers (Manufacturing) Limited £803,241.33 Facility upgrade
Duncan Farms Limited £570,376.28 Facility upgrade
1994 Enterprises Ltd (Butter Boys) £147,888.48 Facility upgrade
The Brewers Association of Scotland (TBAS) £40,000.00 Product marketing

Brexit Talks

 “We will not sign a blank cheque.”

Support for agricultural, fishing and environmental priorities in Scotland is being put at risk due to the UK Government’s continued failure to provide certainty over the future of EU funding.

The stark warning was issued by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing and Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, following a Devolved Administration meeting with UK Ministers in London.

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, said:

“Despite positive talks with Ministers, the UK Government has failed to enable real progress to be made on the approach agreed by the JMC. Worse, UK DEFRA Ministers tried to amend that process which they know full well has the highest support of all our governments.

“The Scottish Government remains steadfast in its resolve to defend the devolution settlement. We will not sign a blank cheque that expects us to sign up to potential post Brexit frameworks and legislation without knowing any of the detail of those. We will not put the future of our agriculture, fishing and environment sectors at risk.

“For 18 months we have sought to engage openly and constructively with the UK Government over some of the most important issues facing our rural economy and natural environment. UK Ministers have yet to provide absolute clarity on future funding which prevents us and the sectors to plan for the future, nor have they given us sight of their proposed bills on agriculture and fisheries. 

“Until the power grab is removed from the EU Withdrawal Bill, we can continue to have cordial discussions but little progress will be made.”

Future of Crofting


Views sought on legislative changes.

A consultation on the priorities for future crofting law has been launched by Rural Affairs Secretary, Fergus Ewing MSP.

The public consultation seeks opinions on the form of new legislation and priorities for legislative change to ensure crofting law is fit for the 21st century.

It will run for 12 weeks and will end on 20 November.

Mr Ewing said:

“Crofting delivers valuable local benefits and a successful crofting sector helps our rural communities to thrive. It is therefore vital the law that governs it is fit for purpose.

“Initial discussions have shown while there is plenty of agreement that the current law needs to change, there are many views on what should replace it.

“I would strongly encourage anyone with an interest in the future of crofting –  whether they be crofters, landowners, those living in a crofting communities or in other parts of Scotland – to take part in this consultation and help us improve future legislation.”



The Crofting Consultation 2017 is available via the Scottish Government’s consultation website.

Alternatively copies of the document can be acquired by emailing the Crofting Bill team or by visiting a Scottish Government rural office.

A series of public meetings will be held to help with any issues when responding to the consultation. Anyone interested in attending will need to book a place.

Avian Influenza


Avian influenza prevention zone to be lifted.

The avian influenza prevention zone covering Scotland will be lifted on 30 April, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

The zone required bird keepers in all areas of Scotland to put in place enhanced biosecurity measures prior to letting their birds outside, in order to reduce the risk of disease.

The ban on shows and gatherings of poultry, waterfowl and game birds will remain in force until 15 May, when a new general licence will come into force.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing said:

“This will be welcome news for many keepers who have opted to keep their birds indoors to protect them from a seasonally increased risk from highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8. This decision has been made following the recent veterinary risk assessment concluding that the risk of avian influenza incursion to poultry and captive birds in Scotland had decreased to low.

“This has been a testing time for all of us, and I would like to thank all bird keepers in Scotland for their co-operation and vigilance. Your positive and committed response has helped us reach this point.”

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said:

“It is a relief to see that the risk of HPAI H5N8 in Scotland has reduced, but this does not mean we should be complacent; the risk of avian influenza has not disappeared.  It is essential that bird keepers maintain effective biosecurity year-round, not just when a prevention zone is in place.  All bird keepers should consider maintaining excellent biosecurity practices like washing boots and equipment with approved disinfectant, implementing effective rodent control, minimizing unnecessary visitors and reducing their flock’s contact with wild birds. 

“I would also strongly urge businesses to reassess their contingency plans, given the new perspective this season’s outbreaks of H5N8 provides. Practical advice about their specific arrangements should be sought from their private vets, in consultation with their local Animal Plant and Health Agency office.”


  1. Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease. Anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must report it to their local Animal Plant & Health Agency office.
  2. The H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza has been circulating in Europe since October 2016. Ten cases in captive birds have been confirmed in UK (none of which were in Scotland).
  3. The latest risk assessment for an incursion of HPAI H5N8 in domestic and captive birds in Scotland, has concluded that the risk is LOW, a reduction from the previous risk level which was assessed as MEDIUM.
  4. Wild Bird Surveillance figures show that since 1 December 2016, only one case of HPAI H5N8 has been identified in Scotland (a wild peregrine falcon found on 9 December).
  5. From 15 May, all poultry shows and bird gatherings will be permitted, subject to prior notification to Animal and Plant Health Agency and the conditions of the general licence.
  6. More information about Avian Influenza, the Prevention Zone and bird gatherings – including biosecurity guidance – is available from the Scottish Government website

Croft House Grants Awarded


Funding for Crofting Homes

Over £948,000 has been awarded to help crofters in some of Scotland’s most rural and remote communities benefit from better housing.

29 crofters will share the funding which enables them to build or improve homes, helping to retain and attract people to rural communities.

Confirming the awards, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“High quality housing is essential for crofters and this round of awards will make a real difference to the 29 crofters and their families receiving a grant. Attracting people, particularly young families, to our most remote and rural communities is essential for their long-term sustainability. I am determined to help people live in crofting areas, where there are often few opportunities and the Croft House Grant has proved successful in doing just that.”

“I have already increased the funding available through the grant scheme by £600,000. These grants enable more crofters to upgrade or build new properties helping them to fulfil their duty to live on or close to their croft. And they also help to boost the wider local economy, creating opportunities for local construction and trade businesses.”

Since 2007, over £16 million of grant payments have been awarded to over 800 crofters to build or improve their homes through the Croft House Grant Scheme. From 1 April 2016, changes made to the grant support mechanism included a significant increase in individual grants, with some crofters now eligible for £38,000 of funding.



Inverness and Nairn MSP, Fergus Ewing, has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) on their proposal for a new site for the Inverness prison.

Mr Ewing said:

 “ I have been campaigning for a new prison for some time and during the Scottish Parliament election campaign last year said that I thought the site proposed by the SPS at that time for Milton of Leys was not the right one.

I suggested that a more central location was appropriate, being more accessible for those working there and to visitors and to be closer to the site of the new justice centre.

I met the CEO of the SPS shortly after the election last year, together with representatives of the local campaign against the MOL site, and suggested that their application be paused to enable time for consideration to be given to finding a more suitable site. They agreed to that whilst they investigated the possibility of a more suitable. This plainly took a considerable amount of time. It involved a great deal of work. I continued to engage with them behind the scenes during all of that period to encourage them to move the proposed site from their original selected site at MOL to a more suitable one.

I am very pleased that these representations were heeded and then acted on. Now the proposed site is the subject of a new application and it is of course for the local authority to consider this, but it appears on the face of it that it is a much more suitable site. I will listen carefully to any views expressed to me as the local MSP by my constituents, but it is the council that is the elected planning authority and will take this forward. So the decision whether to grant permission is for the council to take. From my work in the background, I am hopeful that this site has advantages, and will be seen to be more suited. For example, for visitors to prisoners, such as wives partners and children, I think it would be much more accessible and possibly less potentially stigmatising for the visits to be at the new proposed location than out of town where they would travel probably by bus for the purpose of visits.

I have worked hard to try to bring about the result of a more suitable site and am pleased to have played a part in what I hope will be the selection of a better place for the new proposed prison.

I must thank the SPS staff who have devoted a great amount of time and effort to this work. Over the years I have visited the existing Porterfield prison on numerous occasions, the prison officers and other staff there will I am sure welcome a more accessible site. Obviously there is much more to be done prior to the agreement for the building of the new prison but this is a major milestone on that journey.

Alongside the new justice campus this is an enormous proposed investment in the city by the Scottish Government and it also paves the way for the castle to become vacant to enable the future development of it for the purposes of a major tourism attraction for the city.”

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Cabinet Secretary highlights threat of leaving the European Single Market on food and farming industries

Leaving the European Single Market would be disastrous for Scotland’s Farming and Food sectors, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has said today.

As millions of people prepare to celebrate the Bard on January 25 by enjoying some iconic Scottish food and drink, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity has called for protection of access to markets for Scottish producers.

He said:

“Burns Night is celebrated by millions of people in Scotland and all around the world. It is a date that highlights the esteem with which Scottish culture and produce is exported and enjoyed around the world.

“The EU is Scotland’s biggest overseas regional food and drink export market, with exports of food and drink worth £2 billion in 2015. We simply can’t ignore the disastrous impact that leaving the Single Market, and the 500 million people within it, could have on our food and drink sector.

“One example of the threat that the Hard Brexit, outlined this week by the Prime Minister, poses for our wider economy can be seen in the Scottish potato, a staple part of any Burns supper.

“The value of Scotland’s potato sector is £167 million, and we currently export Scottish potatoes to EU markets, tariff free, whilst relying on free movement of people for all stages of production and retail, including growing, harvesting, storing, transporting and selling.

“A ‘Hard Brexit’ would be devastating for Scottish agriculture and the many food companies which rely on Scottish produce. Potentially, they face both high tariffs of up to 50% and loss of subsidy support. It may also put at risk Scottish protected food names which give confidence to consumers, and the common regulatory frameworks which help maintain food safety, animal and plant health standards and guarantee access to EU markets and many other countries.

“Potentially worst of all would be the impact on the labour market. In 2014, almost 40% of people employed in the UK Food and Drink Manufacturing sector were foreign-born, with the majority of these from within the EU. This week, Skills Development Scotland published their Skills Investment Plan for the Food and Drink industry, highlighting the importance of EU migrants to the current sector and in supporting future growth.

“Unlike the UK Government, we value the contribution that non-UK EU nationals bring to our economy and society, contributing to sustainable economic growth, mitigating the effects of demographic change and enriching our culture and communities.

“I would encourage anyone enjoying a Burns supper this year to reflect on the role EU membership plays in enriching our culture and communities, supporting our economy and in the production of much of Scotland’s food and drink.”



Fisheries Secretary announces landing controls for crab and lobster

Scottish shellfish are to be given additional protection through new conservation measures announced by Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing today.

Following a consultation, the Scottish Government will introduce landing controls intended to improve the sustainability and management of Scotland’s crab and lobster fisheries.

The minimum landing sizes for crab and lobster will be increased as follows:

• brown crab from 130/140 mm to 150 mm (excluding Shetland)

• velvet crab from 65 mm to 70 mm

• lobster from 87 mm to 90 mm on the west coast (excluding Solway Firth).

Additionally, the maximum landing size of female lobster will be decreased to 145 mm (excluding Orkney and Shetland), and the landing of berried (egg bearing) velvet crab will be prohibited.

These measures are expected to come into force later in the year.

Commenting on the new measures, Mr Ewing said:

“Scottish crab and lobster are an important part of the rural economy, fished by almost 1,400 creel vessels around the coast. Landings were worth £26.8 million to the economy in 2015, helping to support many remote communities.

“These new measures are a forward step in achieving the vision set out in our Inshore Fisheries Strategy and will contribute to developing a more sustainable, profitable and well-managed inshore fisheries sector in Scotland.”

Nick Turnbull, Secretary of the Mull Fishermen’s Association, said:

“We welcome the introduction of these new management measures. Mull fishermen are in agreement in wanting extra protection for our shellfish stocks, and we are confident these measures will help to promote their future health and sustainability.”




Roles will help develop new Strategy for the sector

The Scottish Government has appointed four Agriculture Champions to advise on the development of a strategy for the sector.

The Agriculture Champions will help develop an Agriculture Strategy to guide the long-term sustainable future for Scottish agriculture, by increasing profitability and boosting innovation, production and sustainability.

Each Champion will be paired across four themes:

  • Education and Training Champion – Henry Graham, Scottish Chair of Lantra
  • Food and Drink Champion – Archie Gibson, Chair of the Scottish Food and Drink Federation
  • Sustainability Champion – John Kinnaird, Farmer and Former President of NFUS
  • Public Value Champion – Marion MacCormick, Buying Director for ALDI

The announcement was made by Fergus Ewing at a Farming and Food Summit in Edinburgh today.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, said:

“I welcome our Agricultural Champions to their new roles and look forward to working with them to deliver on our commitment to develop a strategy to inform the long term sustainable future of our agriculture sector.

“Today’s summit brings together stakeholders from across both food and farming to look at how we build relationships between Scotland’s producers and their markets, alongside addressing the challenges being faced by rural businesses.

“Of course, we can’t ignore the wider political and economic implications of leaving the European Single Market and the summit is as an opportunity to address the impact for farming and food production.

“These sectors are particularly reliant upon our continued access to free movement of labour and wider EU support. I am committed to fully engaging with stakeholders to understand the challenges they face as a result of the Brexit decision.”



The Farming and Food Summit brings together industry and Government representatives with wider stakeholders to discuss issues affecting the food and farming sectors, such as ease of access for farmers to the food chain, and possible impacts of leaving the European Single Market.



New year cheer for Scotland’s Food and Drink

Haggis manufacturers, bakeries and breweries are among 47 food and drink manufacturers who will be raising a glass on Hogmanay after securing funding from the Scottish Government during a landmark year for the sector.

In 2016 the Scottish Government’s Food Processing Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) grants channelled almost £20 million directly into food and drink producers, boosting growth across the industry.

This was another record breaking year for Scotland’s Food and Drink with latest figures showing a turnover of £14.4 billion for 2014. The food manufacturing sector in particular is thriving with turnover growing at twice the rate of the UK average, increasing by 43 per cent since 2008.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, said:

“Scotland’s Food and Drink is internationally renowned and has long been a standout sector within our economy. This year is no different as we continue to see it delivering phenomenal growth, new jobs, increased wealth and helping attract people to the country.

“This year has been another landmark year for our food and drink industry, however we will not rest on our laurels and will continue to do all we can to support the growth of Scotland’s Food and Drink and the vital contribution it makes to our economy.

“This year we have taken significant strides in unlocking the growth potential in Scotland’s small to medium producers. We have announced 47 more successful recipients of the Food Processing Marketing and Co-operation grant scheme which will boost sector growth and expand the reputation of the industry.

“In addition we this year we launched Connect Local, a new £3 million programme which will strengthen the local supply chain by building connections between local producers and entrepreneurs, micro-businesses and SMEs and offer specialist advice for enterprises with limited experience of marketing local food and drink.

“We have also taken further steps in our vision to transform Scotland into a Good Food Nation by 2025 by announcing the first successful recipients of Good Food Nation funding, which aims to improve Scotland’s food culture and advocates the importance of good food to public health and wellbeing, environment and quality of life.

“There is no better way to way to see in the New Year than by sampling some of Scotland’s wonderful produce, and I would encourage everyone to do so in order that we can help our food and drink sector to continue to grow in 2017.”