Page last updated at 10:40 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Farmers 'must adapt to survive'

The last major review of the industry in the area was in 2003

A major study into agriculture in the north east of Scotland has recommended the industry needs to adapt to survive.

The Agriculture in Aberdeenshire report claims farmers need to market the area as a brand and become less reliant on subsidies.

It also highlights apparent problems in the labour market and the need for more investment in the future.

James Knowles, of the Grampian Food Forum, said of the brand idea: "We have a fantastic menu of produce."

The last major review of the industry in the area was in 2003.

'Informed decisions'

The North East Scotland Agriculture Advisory Group (Nesaag), Aberdeenshire Council and Scottish Enterprise commissioned the new study.

Principal author of the report, agricultural economist Peter Cook, said: "I hope it will stimulate debate and help the sector identify key areas for action."

Bill Howatson, chairman of Nesaag, said: "The agricultural and food sectors are fundamental to the economic output of Aberdeenshire.

"Aberdeenshire Council recognises this and is committed to this key sector, shown by the funding of this important study, which will be a valuable source of information for the industry.

"I hope it will help farmers make informed decisions on the best mix of enterprises for diversification and help identify the priority issues to raise with Holyrood and Brussels."

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