The first ever strategy for Scotland’s venison sector has been launched, with the aim of bringing together the wild and farmed deer interests for the first time, and setting out key areas for growth across the sector.
Those key areas include skills-building initiatives, a fund to support new entrants to venison farming and the need for further research and development.
The document was launched at Downfield Farm venison processing plant near Cupar by Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon.
She said: “We know the venison market in the UK alone is estimated to be worth around £100 million per year and demand has been increasing year on year.
“With this strategy in place, the sector in a Scotland now has a fantastic opportunity to meet rising demand, displace imports and target new market opportunities.
“I welcome that the industry has come together to develop a plan that will build on the strong foundations put in place by the venison pioneers in Scotland.
“Deer farming and management play a significant role in supporting a thriving and sustainable rural economy and this strategy will support our shared wider ambitions to grow it.”
Bill Bewsher, chairman of the Scottish Venison Partnership, added: “Venison producers and processors in Scotland, both wild and farmed, will take very significant encouragement from this new strategy.
“We are exceptionally fortunate that on the one hand we have a rich asset in our wild deer as a sustainable source of healthy food and, on the other, increasing enthusiasm and undoubted potential to grow our farmed venison sector to meet expanding markets both in the UK and elsewhere.”
The strategy was launched on Tuesday (September 4) to coincide with Scottish Venison day which is part of the Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight.