A £1.1 million funding boost for Scotland's food and drink industry was announced today by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead ahead of the Royal Highland Show.
The support from the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise aims to drive industry growth to help achieve £12.5 billion turnover by 2017.
Initiatives to be funded through the investment include:
Announcing the package, Mr Lochhead said:
"Scotland's food and drink larder is one of our greatest assets, representing excellence in every field from our quality Scotch meat, sustainable seafood and iconic whisky to our home-grown oats and soft fruits.
"I am delighted that some of this funding will support business attendance at events across Scotland. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to support key events in this year's cultural calendar, including the Royal National Mod, the Scottish Traditional Boats Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
"This will help to promote and build Scotland's reputation as a Land of Food and Drink amongst consumers, which is crucial to the economic growth of the industry. Latest figures show that sales of Scottish brands across the UK increased by £28 million in the year to May 2011, increasing by nearly a third since 2007.
"I am proud of the work Scotland Food & Drink has achieved so far in moving the industry towards its target of delivering an increased turnover of £12.5 billion by 2017, and I hope this funding will further boost the success of the sector."
Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive Paul McLaughlin commented:
"This investment continues the public/private sector partnership model that has worked so well for the last four years. Scotland Food & Drink will continue to lead and drive growth across the industry and the £1.1m announced today will provide us with the resources to do this effectively."
Chris Taylor, Head of Food, Drink and Tourism for HIE, added : "Our partnership with Scotland Food & Drink has benefited a diverse range of outstanding businesses based in the Highlands and Islands. Practical initiatives like the access to market programme can have a major impact on growing sustainability for businesses - some of which are producing the highest quality of produce from our most rural Scottish communities."