Co-operation vital, say Conservatives
SCOTTISH Conservatives see an extension of co-operation as crucial to the recovery of Scottish farming. "We will explore different methods of funding for co-operative ventures to improve economic stability in farming communities," the manifesto states.
Co-operation in marketing initiatives at home and abroad are seen as particularly important. Greater use of local produce by schools, prisons, and hospitals would be encouraged.
Marginal and upland farmers get special mention with a promise that Tories will press for targeted EU aid for those areas as the overall level of farm subsidy falls.
Recognition of the role farmers play in improving the environment is also demanded.
An appeals procedure for disputes between farmers and the Scottish Office over subsidy claims is promised and the Tories want a powerful agriculture committee within the new parliament to scrutinise any decisions which affect the industry.
A three-year halt on the release of genetically-modified crops to allow a full study of the potential impact is sought, but with no curb on GM research.