A short-life taskforce has been established to monitor, identify and respond to any potential disruption to food security and supply resulting from the impact of the war in Ukraine.
The SNP Government has set up the Food Security and Supply Taskforce jointly with representatives of the food industry. It will be co-chaired by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon and Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, James Withers.
Drawing on technical and scientific knowledge and expertise from across a range of sectors, agencies and organisations, the taskforce will include key food and drink industry leaders and will meet frequently over the coming weeks.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine is already impacting the world beyond the devastating humanitarian fallout – not least through the hugely challenging increases in energy bills which affect households and everyone in the food industry, from farmers to hauliers, processors to retailers.
“Over the last two years, our food and drink sectors have already experienced a series of shocks in terms of disrupted supply chains and new barriers to trade through COVID and Brexit.
“While this taskforce will monitor and respond to the impact of Ukraine’s inability to supply, but also of the imposed sanctions on Russia. Sometimes doing the right thing means you have to make adjustments.
“This taskforce will also consider how we can continue to get products and food supplies to Ukraine, as there are still peopled there who desperately need our help and support in the weeks ahead.”
James Withers said:
“The establishment of this taskforce is a welcome and an important step. The immediate focus from the war in Ukraine is on the humanitarian fallout. However, it is also critical that we assess urgently the potential impact of the conflict on national food security and supply.
“From wheat and barley to sunflower oil, Ukraine and the surrounding region is a major player in terms of global food supply and agricultural production.
“Immediate supplies of food and animal feed are secure, even if prices are rising sharply. However, whilst much still remains unknown in terms of the impact of the war on global supply chains, there is clearly a shock to the system coming. We must understand its implications for Scotland’s farmers, food manufacturers and consumers and consider any short or medium-term action we can take to mitigate their impact.”