NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy and Banffshire and Buchan MSP Karen Adam locked horns over food prices during the political debate at Turriff Show.

The Perthshire farmer was calling for increased food prices in the face of the rising cost of farming, which received a hostile reception from the SNP member of the Scottish Parliament. Kennedy stated that British consumers pay one of the lowest proportions of their income on food compared to other countries around the world and increases are needed to support agriculture.

However Ms Adam rounded on the union president, saying: “The percentage of people's income which they spend on food is sometimes not their choice. The food banks I visit have people living in absolute poverty. I do not want farmers to get paid less but I don’t think we can deny poverty exists.”

She went on to say that the debate was 'a complete disconnect with people living in abject poverty who cannot afford good food because living standards have not improved'.

"People want to spend but they can not afford to spend. This is a massive knock on effect from the cost of living crisis. Even middle earners are really feeling the squeeze.”

Mr Kennedy has long called for a rise in food pricing which would allow fairer returns at the farmgate. The Perthshire farmer pointed out that the carrots needed to make soup only costs a few pence. Last season carrots have been selling as cattle feed this summer for £24/t or 2.4p/kg.

Similarly, the potato market remains flat for last season produce too. The Scottish Farmer understands that an Aberdeenshire farmer recently offered to provide free bagged potatoes to a food bank, but was refused as they were seemed not suitable for the customers.

More returns for farmers would help to mitigate farm inflation, which Mr Kennedy said was over 30%, with feed costs rising 100% on the year. Work conducted by SAC and The Scottish Farmer shows the cost of feed for a suckler cow this winter has jumped £62.

Even the previously buoyant cereal market is witnessing volatility, with markets moving in a week as much as would historically have taken years. Meanwhile Russia continues to turn the screw of EU gas supplies, which means the price of fertiliser is likely to only go up.

These enhanced costs are being fed down to food prices on the shelves, which have been rising at a 13-year high according to the latest industry data. July saw food inflation accelerate to 7%, the highest since May 2009 and up sharply from the 5.6% recorded in June.

Fresh food jumped by 8%, underpinned by increased prices for butter, lard and cooking fats. Market research company Kantar recently said consumers were facing an average rise of £454 to their annual food shopping bill. Overall shopping prices across food and non-food items have risen at the fastest rate since the BRC-NielsenIQ index began in 2005.

Analysts Cornwall Insight this week stated that energy bills this winter will jump to £3487 per household, from an average last year of £1277. This has resulted in the Trussell Trust, one of the UK's biggest food banks, warning that growing pressure on household budgets is resulting in fewer people donating supplies for the hungry.

It is estimated by the Scottish Government that 17% of the population (900,000 people each year) were living in absolute poverty after housing costs in the latest figures. After a long decline since the mid-nineties, absolute poverty rates have stagnated in the last decade with figures showing 7% of children live in households with very low food security.