Organisations in agriculture, primary food production and land management in Scotland have formalised a stakeholder group to come together as one voice on common objectives as Scotland’s future agriculture policy is defined. 

As the Scottish government’s Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill continues through the Scottish Parliament, the Food and Agriculture Stakeholder Taskforce (FAST) has been formally constituted as a Limited Company.

FAST was founded as there was frustration in the industry about the “lack of detail” on agricultural policy in Scotland and a “lack of broad engagement” from Scottish Government with the wider sector to provide input.

The company has met regularly since September 2022 and has invited ministers and other officials to meet with them.

Executive director of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS), Neil Wilson said:

“The aim of FAST is to provide leadership and collaboration on common goals for the agriculture sector. We are stronger speaking together as one voice on mutual areas of concern and significance where possible.

“Not only does this allow our asks to be clearly and concisely delivered to Scottish government but FAST also provides policy makers with a wide range of sector expertise.”

Wilson added that policy makers can “draw” on this to help shape the policy, rather than undermining the long-term success of agriculture and food production.

According to to Wilson, FAST has been providing information to Member’s of the Scottish Parliament (MSP’s) ahead of the amendments being considered at Stage 2 of the Bill during May. 

“We ultimately all want the same: the right policies in place to drive profitable and sustainable agricultural supply chains and primary food retail in Scotland,” he said.

With 16 founding members, FAST represents a broad area of organisations from across primary food production in Scotland, representing members across rural Scotland. 

FAST is hosting a parliamentary reception on Wednesday May, 22 sponsored by Elena Witham MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, to champion Scottish agriculture within the “corridors of power”.