The Scottish Government is providing £50,000 of funding support to Scotland’s wild venison sector, so that suppliers and producers can recover after being badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Industry bosses have welcomed the support, which they say is vital to prevent serious economic and environmental impacts following the pandemic.

However, industry bosses have said the Scottish Government funding is not a ‘silver bullet’, but simply hope it will help them make it through the season.

The money will go towards a targeted marketing campaign, promoting venison as a healthy and sustainable Scottish meat, that gets under way in December and continues through into the New Year.

READ MORE: Scottish venison direct from stalker to butcher

Scotland is home to around one million deer – an estimated 650,000 red deer, plus roe, sika and fallow.

Around 100,000 of those are culled each year to guard against overpopulation, which can lead to animals starving and suffering, and reduce environmental damage due to overgrazing.

The majority of the carcasses go into the human food chain as venison.

And according to market data, venison sales through UK retail and grocery channels increased by 10 per cent in the past year.

However, the coronavirus crisis has meant that the supply chain has been badly affected, following the widespread closure of the hospitality sector.

Local sales of venison and mail order may have been growing - but not enough to compensate for lost sales.

Bill Bewsher, chairman of the Scottish Venison Association, said: “It isn’t a silver bullet, but we hope it can assist in keeping supply chains moving for this season.

READ MORE: Pensioners are the biggest venison eaters

“The return of the restaurant, hospitality and events sectors will come, and that is crucial, and the sooner the better for all concerned – but we cannot wait for that before taking action.”

Announcing the funding, Scottish rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “I recognise the difficulties that the sector has had to endure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The £50,000 grant – part of the wider £5 million food and drink recovery programme – will support the wild venison sector to mitigate the effects of Covid-19.”

John Davidson, Strategy and External Relations Director, Scotland Food & Drink, said: “This a great opportunity to showcase our quality Scottish venison to consumers across the UK and I am delighted that our Recovery Plan is already having a positive impact at a critical time for our venison sector."