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£3m scheme to boost food supply chain

Fergus Ewing TwitterA £3 million food and drink marketing service has been launched to help deliver fine produce direct from the producer to Scotland’s fine dining tables.

The Scottish government backed scheme aims to build direct links between farms and fisheries and restaurants and other outlets.

Partners include SAC, Scottish Argricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), Scotland of Food and Drink, and Seafood Scotland.

Fergus Ewing, Rural Economy and Connectivity Minister,welcomed the initiative. He said: “Scotland has some of the finest produce in the world and we have a fantastic natural larder especially in seafood.

“Our country has been a great success story for a large number of small businesses and we want to go further to promote these businesses.

“Scottish food and drink has an international reputation for quality and is enjoyed around the world. It is one of our economic success stories accounting for 21% of all businesses in Scotland, and generating an annual turnover of £14.3 billion.”

One example of a small business involved in meat and charcuterie production supplying directly to fine dining restaurants and Farmer’s Markets in Leith and Stockbridge is Peelham Farm based in Berwickshire.

Run by the Walton family of Foulden in Berwickshire it prides itself on its production of organic free range lamb, beef, ruby-veal and fine cuts of salami and prosciutto.

Helen Walton who with her husband Angus and her in-laws oversees the production of meats focussing on quality, integrity and traceability was at the launch and showed off some Peelham produce, posing with Mr Ewing and a fine cut of lamb from the farm.

She said: “Anything to help connect farmers to new business is a bonus to us. We are sick of supermarkets controlling the market place. We provide sustainable cuts of meat direct from the farm to restaurants and farmers’ markets.

Ceri Ritchie Sector Manager of SAC Consulting said: “Connect Live is all about Scotland and encouraging local food and drink.

“We aim to connect local supplier routes to the market place and to capitalise on the value of food and drink in this country and link it to tourism.”

Alan Stevenson the supply chain development director of SAOS, an organisation that champions famers cooperatives, said: “We believe people will pay more for something special. We want local populations to buy more local food from farm shops and market places. This is a very exciting time for the food industry.”

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