AMBITIOUS plans to double the value of Dumfries and Galloway’s food and drink sector to £2.5 billion by 2030 have been announced.

The target was revealed at at Moffat Farmers’ Market as Dumfries and Galloway Council and regional industry organisation DG Food and Drink launched a business survey to inform a new regional food and drink strategy and action plan to support the £2.5bn ambition.

Food and drink is already Dumfries and Galloway’s most profitable industry, with an annual turnover of £1.29bn, employing 13,700 people.

The regional growth ambition aligns with the national food and drink strategy, Ambition 2030, which aims to double the value of Scotland’s industry over the next 12 years.

Spanning the full supply chain from field and sea to plate, the sector includes primary production, such as agriculture and fishing, through to small and large food producers, farmers’ markets and restaurants.

Launching the growth target, Archie Dryburgh, chair of the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee (EEIC), said: “Our council has committed to deliver an ambitious regional Food and Drink Strategy to double the size of the industry over the next twelve years.

“In order to do that we are inviting the full spectrum of the food and drink industry – from producer to end user – to tell us what their needs and their opportunities are so that our council and our partners can help businesses across the region to realise their potential.

“We are also looking within, at our own internal processes and policies to see how our council, as a purchaser of food and drink, can work better with our local industry to open up trading opportunities. This ambitious growth target shows that we mean business.

“Growing our local food and drink economy is a critically important part of securing an ambitious and resilient economic future for our region.

“Our council has committed to support our region’s food and drink industry throughout the duration of this administration.

“After all, if we are to unlock the economic potential of our region, we must start with our most valuable economic sector.”

Andrew Wood, vice chair of the EEIC, said: “Dumfries and Galloway is already one of Scotland’s most important food producing regions, with more than 40% of Scotland’s dairy and around 20% of the nation’s red meat produced here.

“We also have a number of large manufacturers providing valuable jobs in communities like Kirkconnel, Stranraer, Lockerbie, Castle Douglas and Annan.

“We have an exceptional artisan sector, a growing number of food tourism experiences and festivals, and a rich network of independently owned restaurants and cafes that all reflect the local food heritage.

“Our rural economy requires growth in the value of the sector, with value retailed much earlier in the supply chain so that producers see the benefit of their hard work.”