Food agency calls in­crease

Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser backs case for sup­port body

The Galloway News - - NEWS - Stephen Norris

De­mands for a new Dum­fries and Gal­loway food and drink agency are gath­er­ing force.

Dalry food con­sul­tant Liz Ram­say has said a re­gional body is needed to sup­port small lo­cal pro­duc­ers.

Now the Kirkcud­bright Food Fes­ti­val and farm­ers’ mar­ket con­vener Niomi Brough has added her back­ing.

Ms Brough, 35, said: “We need to give lo­cal busi­nesses a proper sell­ing plat­form. Food tourism is a third of all tourism in the re­gion and we need a cen­tral body in Dum­fries and Gal­loway to pull it all to­gether.

“You can’t help but feel that model is just what’s re­quired now.”

Ms Brough’s call came as the News found no Gal­loway firms were among 92 Scot­tish com­pa­nies win­ning grants from Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment flag­ship fund­ing.

The Food Pro­cess­ing Mar­ket­ing and Co-op­er­a­tion (FPMC) scheme has paid out more than £30 mil­lion since May, 2015.

Ms Ram­say, who headed the suc­cess­ful Savour the Flavours pro­ject in Dum­fries and Gal­loway from 2009 to 2013, said: “This sug­gests ei­ther the scheme is a poor fit for food pro­duc­ers in Dum­fries and Gal­loway or that there are struc­tural bar­ri­ers putting our busi­nesses off ap­ply­ing.

“With 45 per cent of Scot­land’s dairy in­dus­try and close to a fifth of Scot­land’s red meat in­dus­try be­ing based in Dum­fries and Gal­loway, this is some­thing that should be in­ves­ti­gated.”

Mean­while, Ms Brough called for Savour the Flavours to be re­vived.

She said: “Just hav­ing it there was a mas­sive boost be­cause you were work­ing with peo­ple who were to­tally in­vested in Dum­fries and Gal­loway food and drink.

“I think it did a fan­tas­tic job in grow­ing these lo­cal busi­nesses and ad­vis­ing them in the right way.”

Gal­loway and West Dum­fries MSP Fin­lay Car­son said: “It’s dis­ap­point­ing when the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment are say­ing how well food and drink is do­ing in Scot­land when there has been so lit­tle in­vest­ment in Gal­loway. We maybe need to work bit harder in tick­ing the boxes for the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment.”

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “Most FPMC awards are to mi­cro, small and medium firms. All bids are as­sessed equally.”

See let­ters, page 8.

Speak­ing out Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser Niomi Brough

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