R&Dcould be against Scots local interests
SOME agricultural research in Scotland could work against Scottish farmers, warns a leading researcher.
"Certain research, like the cloning of sheep, may bring wealth and a better reputation to Scotland, but it will not benefit those using land in Scotland," says John Milne, deputy director of the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute at Aberdeen.
He told a meeting of fellows and associates of the Royal Agricultural Societies in Edinburgh that constraints of soil and temperature would make it difficult for Scottish farmers to exploit some of the scientific advances being achieved at Scottish centres. But the work would benefit our competitors in food production in other countries.
"I would like to see more resources devoted to research and development that is going to benefit our own farmers. For example, research devoted to increasing the productivity of our soil, removing disease barriers to our crops, and exploiting ways to add value to highly marketable Scottish produce," said Dr Milne.
CAP distorts the management of the countryside, he added. Dr Milne called for better targeting of resources to encourage sustainable farming in tune with the countryside in hill and upland areas.
"We have researched ways of balancing farming and environmental needs in those areas but have constantly been frustrated by CAP production subsidies.
The CAP will have to change dramatically if science is to be of any help in providing a sustainable countryside. Support must be linked to biodiversity and based on the specific land use of individual holdings," said Dr Milne.
"Germany and France are much better than we are at integrated land use and we should be more proactive. We are lagging behind in developing a countryside to meet the needs of all who use it," he added.