Agroecology in the Agriculture Bill

It is important that, as we leave the European Union and its Common Agricultural Policy, the United Kingdom regains its world-leading role in the race for better, more efficient, and more sustainable agricultural production.

I am pleased to be able to tell you that a UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies was launched in 2013, designed to examine how the UK can feed a growing population without damaging the natural environment. This strategy includes significant spending on agricultural systems research, which includes agroecology.

Here in Scotland, agriculture is a devolved matter, and therefore agriculture policy after Brexit is ultimately the responsibility of the SNP-led Scottish Government. I am extremely disappointed that the Scottish Government has decided against participating in the UK Government’s Agriculture Bill, which puts environmental protection at the heart of its vision for future agricultural policy.

The Scottish Government have also refused to bring forward their own agriculture bill, keeping rural communities in the dark as to what Scotland’s agriculture policy is going to look like in the years after Brexit. I and my Scottish Conservative colleagues believe that the SNP must stop playing politics with our farmers’ livelihoods and with the future of our rural environment.