A PLAN designed to help Scotland’s food and drink sector mitigate the impact of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic has been drawn up by the Scottish Government alongside the industry.

The strategy sets out 50 actions to try to stimulate demand for Scottish produce in key markets and support businesses to capitalise on increased demand.

Rural Economy and Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing described the food and drink industry as one of the “true success stories of Scotland’s economy”, with record-high exports last year worth an estimated £6.7 billion.

But the industry predicts revenue is facing a hit of up to £3bn this year and the Scottish Government has warned of the potential impact of Brexit when the transition period ends at the end of 2020.

The plan aims to mitigate and reverse damage caused by coronavirus and Brexit uncertainty, as well as helping the industry become more environmentally sustainable and resilient. It will receive £5 million of funding from the Scottish Government and anticipates £3m of private investment up to 2023.

Ewing said: “In addition to the many challenges presented by Covid-19, we now need to prepare for the disruption and uncertainty the end of the Brexit transition period will bring in just six weeks’ time.

“Scotland is home to much of the world’s greatest produce and we must do all we can to protect and promote it.”

Scotland Food & Drink chief executive James Withers said: “This has been a year like no other. The trauma wreaked by Covid-19 has affected all of us and following that earthquake comes the next great disrupter: Brexit.

“But despite this volatile and uncertain world, Scotland’s food and drink sector remains resilient and full of talented and dedicated people that will help drive the recovery.

“The plan brings together industry and the Scottish Government in an agreed strategy of tangible action to stimulate demand in domestic and international markets.”