Farmers at Royal Highland Show urge UK and Scottish governments to help struggling sector

The Royal Highland Show attracts around 190,000 people each year, and this year is expected to be no different as the event celebrates its 200th anniversary. Credit: PA Images

Farmers are calling on the UK and Scottish Government to do more to help the agricultural and rural industries as the Royal Highland Show kicks off.

Those in the industry are using Scotland's biggest outdoor event to highlight some of the biggest difficulties those in the industry currently face.

Their calls come exactly six years on from the Brexit vote, with labour shortages combined with soaring fuel and fertiliser prices taking a toll on many.

Andew Connon from the National Farmers Union Scotland said: "The reality is we're in the middle of a food supply and food security emergency, that's a fact, and governments need to wake up to that very quickly because globally this is an issue.

"We need to be more self-sufficient in food production in this country.

"By doing so we will feed our nation, we'll look after biodiversity and climate change and we will reduce our carbon footprint for the food that we eat."

This year is the first full event since 2019, with UK government ministers attending the show across its four days.

It means members of the public and those from rural industries will be able to ask key government figures about issues affecting them, such as England's proposed introduction of the gene editing Bill.

Farmer's north of the Scottish border fear if the bill is introduced, it will leave them at a commercial disadvantage.

Those from Westminster are using the Royal Highland Show to urge the Scottish government to follow suit.

It says the technology would help create more resistant crops, reducing the need for pesticides and costs to farmers.

On the show's opening day on Thursday, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack and UK government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord toured the Ingliston showground.

The UK government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart and Environment Secretary George Eustice are due to attend on Friday 24 June.

The Royal Highland Show attracts around 190,000 people each year, and this year is expected to be no different as the event celebrates its 200th anniversary.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: "The UK government will be making full use of this opportunity to meet with key players from the various sectors who make such a huge contribution to our everyday lives and Scotland's economy.

"It’s vital that the UK and Scottish governments work together, as well as with businesses, to ensure our rural economy can continue to grow.

"Gene editing is an area where we can collaborate and where we can really make a difference as we seek to strengthen our food security, tackle climate change and bring down food prices."

The UK government marquee will also include the department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Border Force, Her Majesty's Coastguard, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Department for Transport (DfT), the Department for International Trade (DIT), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

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