New Scottish venison strategy launched

Posted by on Sep 5, 2018 in News | Comments Off

The first ever strategy for Scottish venison has been launched, with the aim of bringing together wild and farmed deer interests and setting out nine ‘key areas’ for growth across the sector.

These areas include developing new supply chains, tailored support for deer farming, developing a scheme for co-op owned chills and larders and supply of local product to local markets, consumer promotion, education, skills development and building on Scotland’s reputation as a centre for world-class expertise, and further R & D including market insight.

Speaking from the Downfield Farm venison processing plant in Cupar, Fife, Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon said:

Minister for Rural Affairs, Mairi Gougeon MSP,

Launching the strategy (from left), Bob Prentice, Downfield Farms; Mairi Gougeon MSP, Minister for Rural Affairs; Bill Bewsher, Chairman, Scottish Venison Partnership. Photo: Ian Jacobs

“I am delighted to help to launch this strategy for this exciting, burgeoning sector in Scotland’s food and drink success story.

“Venison is a premium food, renowned for its quality, provenance and health credentials, and its reputation continues to rise in both domestic and international markets. We know the venison market in the UK alone is estimated to be worth around £100 million per year and demand has been increasing year on year. With this strategy in place, the sector in a Scotland now has a fantastic opportunity to meet rising demand, displace imports and target new market opportunities.

“I welcome that the industry has come together to develop a plan that will build on the strong foundations put in place by the venison pioneers in Scotland. Deer farming and management play a significant role in supporting a thriving and sustainable rural economy and this strategy will support our shared wider ambitions to grow it.

“It’s very fitting to launch the new strategy on Scottish Venison Day and during Food and Drink fortnight, the annual celebration and promotion of Scotland’s food and drink sector. The Scottish Government looks forward to working with the sector to take forward the actions contained with the strategy.”

Bill Bewsher, Chairman, The Scottish Venison Partnership, said:

“Venison producers and processors in Scotland, both wild and farmed, will take very significant encouragement from this new strategy. We are exceptionally fortunate that on the one hand we have a rich asset in our wild deer as a sustainable source of healthy food and, on the other, increasing enthusiasm and undoubted potential to grow our farmed venison sector to meet expanding markets both in the UK and elsewhere. This strategy points all of us in the right direction with a set of common goals for 2030 and we are grateful for the additional support forthcoming from government in helping us to meet them.”