Crops growing in a field in Midlothian has more chance of ending up in Scottish schools. Picture Nigel Duncan Media

Plans to increase the use of Scottish produce in schools, hospitals and other public sector organisations have been unveiled by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

A total of £1.2m has been confirmed to expand the current Food for Life programme and a further £100,000 will deliver a new Supplier Development Programme.

This will, help small and medium sized food and drink businesses compete for public sector food contracts.

Mr Ewing said: “These new measures will put local sourcing at the heart of many public sector supply chains, meaning that more people around Scotland will be able to enjoy our locally-produced, fresh food.

“We are committing more than £1m over the next three years so more young people in our schools have the benefit of fresh, healthy and locally sourced food.

“We are supporting small and medium-sized businesses to access valuable public sectors contracts which otherwise would remain out of reach.

“There is now a real opportunity to build on the good work that has already been done in this area to unlock the potential public sector food and drink market which is worth £150m in Scotland annually.”