First Minister Announces funding for food and drink events

First Minister announces funding for Food & Drink at Dornoch Reception

The £25,000 awarded to events in the Highlands will support activities showcasing the finest Scottish cuisine and encourages greater use of local and seasonal produce. Scotland's Year of Food and Drink, which started in May, aims to build on Homecoming Scotland 2009.

Alex Salmond said: "The Year of Food and Drink is a fitting opportunity to celebrate the work of our wonderful local food and drink producers. The food and drink sector is key to our economic recovery. Visitors to Scotland spend one pound in every five on food and drink-related activity, and we produce some of the finest produce in the world.

"We have a busy programme on the horizon to keep up momentum and help the industry-led Scotland Food and Drink meet its target of growing the value of the sector to £12.5billion by 2017."

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead added: "Scottish food and drink exports increased by 10% in value up to the end of March this year, however that doesn't begin to tell the full story behind the success story of our national larder. At the moment tourism contributes £737million towards the value of food and drink in Scotland - our ambitious target is to raise that to £900million by 2017."

Events supported for the year include The Royal National Mod in October, a day-long celebration of organic and local produce, called Living Food, at Cawdor Castle in Nairn on September 25, and Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running on October 3.

Scotland's Year of Food and Drink is a Scottish Government initiative delivered by EventScotland and VisitScotland. It is supported by Scotland Food and Drink, which helps companies to increase profitability and aims to make the industry grow in size.

The year, which has a core budget of £500,000, will end with the Food and Drink Excellence Awards in May.

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