Candidate calls for Outer Hebrides food brand
One of the prospective candidates for na h-Eileanan an Iar has called for the region to have its own dedicated food brand.
Scottish Parliamentary hopeful Gavin Berkenheger said that supporting crofting and land-use industries was critical to the overall economic performance of the islands.
However, he stressed that in order for any new Outer Hebrides food label to succeed it was imperative to support local abattoirs.
The council have already warned that the abattoir they run in Stornoway faces an uncertain future due to high running costs. Smaller privately-owned facilities, with support from the local authority, operate in North Uist and Barra.
“It is essential that crofters from the Butt to Barra have close access to abattoirs come finishing time,” said Mr Berkenheger. “The current provision available must be supported and invested in so as to secure the future of crofting for the next generation.”
He said there was “vast potential to pursue and create an Outer Hebrides brand for our food sector in a similar vein as to what occurs in other island communities”.
"I will seek to secure funding to secure and enhance our vital abattoir provisions and support to develop marketing the superior produce the islands have to offer,” he added.
The commitment was supported by fellow Scottish Conservative candidate, Donald Cameron, standing in Argyll and Bute, who said the move was “absolutely right” as crofting is “central” to the islands.