Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has highlighted the importance of the food and drink industry to the region in a speech in the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP was speaking in a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Scotland’s Food and Drink Fortnight where he highlighted many of the iconic products made in the region.
His speech came on the same day where he had been in the presence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall who opened a new visitor centre at the Bladnoch Distillery.
Mr Carson highlighted the industry’s £1 billion plus worth to the region, with the sector also employing over 9,000 people.
Ahead of this weekend’s Stranraer Oyster Festival, he also highlighted the event which continues to grow year on year.
In addition, he also celebrated the opportunity being given by Galloway Chillies to a young apprentice, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the food and drink federation.
Mr Carson also paid tribute to many local businesses and products including Castle Maclellan Pate, Cream O’ Galloway, Ethical Dairy Farm, Marrburry’s smoked salmon, Sulwarth Brewery’s gold lager, West Coast Sea Products, Galloway Lodge Preserves, Hills and Harbour Gin and new businesses such as Five Kingdoms Brewery and Galloway Mead
Commenting, Finlay Carson MSP said: “The food and drink sector is absolutely vital for our rural communities, where it employs so many people and brings countless opportunities.
“Dumfries and Galloway is home to so many iconic products that I was delighted to promote in the chamber.
“It is very pleasing to see that Galloway Chillies are offering a young apprentice the chance to work alongside them, and I hope this is something that can be expanded onto allow our youngsters to stay in the region and work in one of our great industries.
“We also have so many wonderful festivals that allow visitors to come and sample our great products, none more so than the Stranraer Oyster Festival which I am thoroughly looking forward to attending once again this weekend.
“I believe there is so much untapped potential in our food and drink sector, and I will be continuing to support and push for measures that enable more jobs to be created locally and our produce to gain even greater recognition.
“Galloway’s hospitality really is second to none, no matter where you go.”