Scottish farmers will have a better bargaining position within the EU if Scotland remains part of the UK, according to Scotland’s secretary of state, Michael Moore.

Arguing the case for Scotland staying within the UK, at the NFU Scotland conference and AGM in St Andrews, the minister said Scottish farmers benefited from the “pooled power of the UK” and leaving the union would weaken this position.

“I believe Scottish farmers are better off as part of the UK. As devolved and part of the UK, I believe Scotland has the best of both worlds,” he said.

The devolved parliament enabled tailored solutions to be found to Scottish farmers’ problems and greater flexibility to deal with the issues affecting them. In addition, promotion and export of Scottish-branded food products was reliant on the pooled resources of the UK, he said.

“Of course there are negotiating challenges and at times tension between devolved administrations. However, we have a strong commitment to consensus and together we are greater than the sum of our parts,” he said.

He criticised the Scottish government for failing to offer answers on how Scottish farmers would be affected by independence.

“I’m clear that the way to guarantee the strength and support of the UK is to stay in the UK. Scottish farming, like Scotland as a whole, has the best of both worlds,” he said.

“As part of the UK we have strength and I would wonder why you would want to put that at risk.”

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