Candidates give their views on farming and countryside

Publication Date16 April 2021
A total of nine candidates are battling it out across the two constituencies covering Dumfries and Galloway, aiming to represent the region at Holyrood over the next five years.

For the Dumfriesshire seat, they are: Richard Brodie (Lib Dem), Joan McAlpine (SNP), Oliver

Mundell (Conservative) and Colin Smyth (Labour).

And in Dumfries and Galloway, they are: Finlay Carson (Conservative), Archie Dryburgh (Labour), Emma Harper (SNP), Laura Moodie (Green) and Iain McDonald (Lib Dem).

Here, they give their views on the farming and rural issues affecting the region and how they aim to tackle them.

LABOUR ARCHIE DRYBURGH

Our rural communities are all too often ignored and neglected - and the pandemic has exposed the inequalities we face from poor broadband to inadequate public transport.

That's why the next Scottish Parliament must focus on a national recovery, not go back to the old arguments on the constitution.

Labour's national recovery plan would include providing farmers and crofters with clarity on a new agriculture support system to replace the Common Agricultural Policy.

It will incentivise actions that deliver food production, climate and biodiversity outcomes in complementary fashion, recognising farmer's existing knowledge and experience in reducing emissions and protecting our landscape while working towards a sustainable sector.

I am proud as a local councillor to have launched our region's

first ever food and drink strategy aimed at doubling the value of the sector in Dumfries to £2.5bn by 2030.

To properly recognise the value of the sector, Scottish Labour has proposed that an early priority of the new Parliament should be a comprehensive Good Food

Nation Act along the lines proposed by the Scottish Food Coalition, including a right to food.

The ever-rising use of food banks is morally repugnant in a country where fresh, quality food produced by our farmers is plentiful on our doorstep.

The pandemic should also cause us to rethink supply chains for food, returning to a more localised system of production with incentives for cheaper and healthier food.

Scottish Labour will work towards a transparent supply chain and food system which supports our producers and recognises the public benefits that agriculture provides.

If we are to genuinely build back better after the pandemic, we must recognise the strengths of our local economy and that's why supporting a sustainable agriculture sector in our region would be a priority for me as MSP.

SNP JOAN MCALPINE

Brexit is set to cost the UK between £2 and £4 billion in lost food exports this year.

As chair of parliament's Europe Committee I heard evidence that the volume of meat exports in February was down to 25 per cent of last year and this could not be explained by Covid or teething difficulties.

One pig meat exporter faced over 90 separate pieces of paperwork!

Imports are affected as farmers struggle to get machine parts. Some sectors were cut out of Brexit the deal entirely - such as growers of seed potatoes - a multi-million pound Scottish export.

The end of free movement is a disaster.

The UK needs 60,000 seasonal workers across agriculture and horticulture

- 95 per cent of whom were EU nationals.

A new UK scheme does not make...

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