So it is now official, the UK is in recession as a result of two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
This was not unexpected given what the whole country has come through with Covid-19 and its knock on effect on people’s ability to keep spending.
However the issue now is where do we go from here and what lessons have been learned as a result of this pandemic.
First of all, there has been a massive change in people’s understanding and recognition of where our food comes from, this is very evident when speaking to local butchers who have been run off their feet trying their best to supply our consumers with high quality home grown products.
This increased demand for our home produced meat has led to a well overdue increase in the farm gate price which after such a long period of unsustainable prices is very welcome.
From an arable perspective the same should apply, whether it is malting barley or soft fruit and veg, we should be following a strategy of Scottish first.
If there is not enough supply to fill the demand then by all means use product from the rest of the UK and only revert to imports if it is simply not here or cannot be grown here.
Many more people are now aware of what food security actually means, not just in terms of having enough but also how their food has been grown and reared, taking into account animal welfare and production standards.
We all need to do our bit to get this message across. Quality Meat Scotland’s current ‘Make it’ campaign, which is trying to create a better understanding of both how simple it is to create fantastic meals cost effectively and at the same time highlight the advantages of supporting the high standards of our products, is really hitting the spot.
This message needs full backing from both governments as investment in agriculture and the processing of its products leads to more jobs and added value as the spend stays within our shores.
Scottish agriculture is prepared to lead the way with sustainable food production, and provided there is commitment to support its products then lessons can be learned which could be applied to other industries.
Recently I spoke to a local business to order some supplies for a bit of fencing, my order was for some 50mm weld mesh and some rabbit netting.
I was blown over with the reply which was, ’sorry we have not got any in just now, that all comes from China’.
What an utter disgrace, when you think of how highly regarded British Steel was right across the world with its high quality.
I am sure many of you can relate to the durability of a Fergie 794 bar point and how simply indestructible it seemed to be.
Now we just import it and to add insult to injury, British steel has now been bought over by a Chinese company.
Even our so called iconic Queensferry crossing had 75 per cent of its steel imported from China. That did wonders for climate change.
If we want to bounce back from where we are now then its absolutely imperative that we invest not just in primary production, but in the processing of products that will not only add value that we will benefit from, but will also create jobs and reinvigorate industries that sadly seem long gone.