Food agency calls increase
Festival organiser backs case for support body
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