Speaking in a parliamentary debate on organic farming Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has outlined the merits of organic farming. Mr. Stevenson also took the opportunity to raise some key concerns of the farming and organic food processing industry such as pork production issues and problems with nitrate-vulnerable zones.
Speaking in the debate Mr. Stevenson said;
"I suspect that we will all feel that organic farming has an important contribution to make to farmers' profitability, to the good health of people in Scotland and, perhaps, to enabling our children to better understand where their food comes from and make appropriate choices. Organic farming touches on many things beyond the farm gate.
"The Executive's 'Third Organic Annual Report' confirms that there are substantial problems in the pork industry. Because of the diktats of the processing industry and supermarkets we cannot measure the amount of organic pork that is produced in Scotland. It goes elsewhere and we cannot count it when it is returned for sale in Scotland. The problem illustrates the fact that we must give further consideration not just to primary producers but to the chain from primary producers to the plate.
"Nitrates are an important subject throughout the farming sector. Were we to have a less blunt-instrument approach to our nitrate-vulnerable zones, we could farm in a more sustainable way in relation to nitrates. Instead of being driven by an arbitrary calendar that is probably appropriate in only one or two places in Scotland, seasons for spreading nitrates could be locally determined."