Holyrood has pledged £1m to support the marketing of Scottish brands and develop new markets.

Rural affairs minister Richard Lochhead told the NFU Scotland AGM both the cattle and sheep sectors required support to help them maximise the image of the Scottish brand to make the most of available opportunities.

The money will be spent to support marketing of Scotch beef, sheep and pork. The promotions will include a £250,000 campaign to help develop new markets for lamb and fully exploit the availability of prime Scottish lambs.

Mr Lochhead said a wider study – across the meat sector – has also been commissioned to help better understand the market.

The survey will look at what’s on sale in Scotland and which retailers provide the best support for producers.

“It is important that in the present climate, when people are looking very carefully at the provenance of their food, we continue to build our good reputation both at home and overseas and continue to capitalise on new market opportunities,” said Mr Lochhead.

“In the sheep sector particularly, I share farmers’ disappointment that market returns have recently eased back after a prolonged period of high prices for both lambs and ewes, partly due to the weakness of the pound.

“But I believe there are grounds for optimism. Scotland produces a natural, premium product which consumers at home and abroad are prepared to pay for. We need to get better at maximising the opportunities, and the support unveiled today is designed to do just that.”

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