Funding worth £4.5 million has been announced to support the growth of Scotland’s food and drink exports.
The money will help Scottish companies take their products into new and existing markets, offer expert advice, forge stronger relationships with buyers and encourage businesses to develop products.
It comes as part of efforts to help the industry achieve its overall aim to double turnover value to £30 billion by 2030.
Funding for the second phase of the Food and Drink Export Plan come from the Scottish Government, industry and Scottish Development International.
This part of the plan will last from 2019 to 2024.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is a hugely exciting time for the sector and I’m confident that government and industry will continue to work together successfully to identify new opportunities for Scotland, with the clear strategy set out by this latest plan.
“The need to explore and exploit international markets could not be clearer, given the current uncertainty around our future trading relationship with Europe – our single largest market, which is eight times larger than the UK market alone.”
Scotland’s food and drink sector has grown year on year, increasing by 78% since 2007.
Last year, exports reached a record level of £6.3 billion, with support from the first phase of the export plan.
The Scottish Government also recently launched a wider export strategy – A Trading Nation – setting out plans for growing Scotland’s exports to add around £3.5 billion to GDP and create 17,500 more jobs.
James Withers, chief executive of Food Drink Scotland, said: “Food and drink has become Scotland’s biggest export and yet there are still huge opportunities still in front of us.
“From Tokyo to Toronto, there is growing demand for world class products with a strong provenance story and on that front Scotland can compete with anywhere in the world.”