Updated Organic Action Plan represents new opportunities for organic farmers

29 May 2013

On Monday 27th May, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead launched the updated Organic Action Plan at Pitgaveny Farm, Elgin.

The updated Organic Action Plan for 2013-2015, which first published in 2011, introduces new initiatives to help meet growing consumer demand for organic produce.

The plan includes new actions to:

• help farmers develop their skills
• identify and promote export opportunities to exploit expanding organic markets
• help to support, stimulate and facilitate new product development in the organic sector

The Scottish Organic Forum, of which Soil Association Scotland is a member, will work with Scottish Development International and Scotland Food & Drink to break into expanding markets.

Commenting at the launch, Richard Lochhead said, “Scotland is known around the world for its food and drink, and our ability to grow such high quality produce is at the heart of that.

“The initial Organic Action Plan has helped the industry progress and the changes we are implementing today reflect new opportunities for development - we’re going to help our farmers develop their skills and we want to break into new organic markets to boost sales. We have the expertise, knowledge and tools at our disposal to continue to support future growth of the organic industry.

“Organic businesses play a crucial role in Scotland’s economy. It is important we help to enhance their reputation, open up new market opportunities and encourage more to get involved.”

Laura Stewart, Director Soil Association Scotland added; “As the organic market moves back into growth, the updated Organic Action Plan represents some exciting new opportunities for everyone working in, and supporting, organic food production in Scotland.
As part of the Scottish Organic Forum, we look forward to supporting the sector to progress these actions, enabling organic farming and food to thrive in the years ahead.”

The launch at Pitgaveny Farm also saw 200 Home Economics pupils from S2 at Elgin Academy take part in a range of activities at the farm, as part of their work on local food production. Workshops included milling grain and making beremeal bannocks with Pam Rodway, from Soil Association and Scottish Crofting Federation’s programme, Crofting Connections.

“Crofting Connections was delighted to participate in this event. As Moray is now included in the crofting counties, it is good to encourage pupils to study Scotland’s traditional larder, which still thrives in some of our crofting communities”, said Pam. “I was delighted to see so many young people enjoy the activities and the tasting of traditional healthy croft food.”

Find out more…
• Read the official Scottish Government press release
• Download a summary of the updated Organic Action Plan
• Find out more about Soil Association Scotland

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