Thursday, May 23, 2024

Sheep farmer and MSP welcomes new £75 million fund to alleviate flooding – Aberdeen Business News

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TIM Eagle MSP has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of £75 million to protect farmers from flooding and a new index that will track UK-wide food security issues on an annual basis as part of a substantial package of support for the industry.

The Buckie-based sheep farmer and Highlands and Islands MSP praised the pledge from Rishi Sunak at the UK Government’s Farm to Fork summit following an extremely wet few months which has severely dented farmer confidence.

A £75 million fund to support internal drainage boards will be made available to protect agricultural land, including horticulture businesses, and rural communities from flooding. This will make them more resilient to climate change through two funds which will include one for repairs and one for building assets that boost resilience, such as pumping stations.

The first draft of the UK Food Security Index will allow the government and farmers to monitor the impacts of external factors, such as adverse weather and war. It will set out how the government will track UK-wide food security on an annual basis, monitoring domestic food production, land use, input costs and farmer productivity.

The Prime Minister also announced measures of support to help the horticulture sector. As part of this, a new Horticulture Resilience and Growth offer, which will replace the retained EU scheme, will be rolled out. Through this new scheme, the government will look to double the amount of funding given to horticulture businesses compared to the current scheme, taking it to £80m per year.

Scottish Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Tim Eagle said: “I know, having experienced it first-hand myself, how difficult this winter has been for farmers across the North and North East.

“In communities such as Garmouth and Kingston in Moray, terrible flood damage has been caused to agricultural fields, as well as to homes and businesses.

“The extreme weather has had a devastating impact on both cropping and grazing, as well as damaging property and equipment.

“This package of support from the Prime Minister will help to alleviate the destruction which has been caused by the prolonged rainfall by having improved mechanisms in place to deal with the issue.

“I welcome Rishi Runak’s announcement which will allow farmers to produce more food and ensure the very best of our homegrown products in Scotland end up on our plates.

“Food security is vital to our national security and this UK Government support for farmers will help to strengthen this and encourage innovation within the sector.”

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