THE necessity of 'living in the now' came to mind when I read of the Scottish Government's apology this week to witches that were, sadly, persecuted under the Witchcraft Act of 1563. Tragic as these heinous acts might have been, that was 'then'.

'Now' is the time for action to ensure that there is enough food produced from our home nations to feed the good citizens of this country and that's why there have been growing calls from the industry for some, or all environmental rules to be relaxed to allow the likes of set-aside to be utilised for crop growing.

There's no need for the SNP ruling party to run to their pals in the Scottish Greens to see if this is OK. Just about every politician of various hues, can see the sense in making the most of what we have during these troubled times. Any parliamentary vote on it would, surely, be a foregone conclusion should it even be necessary.

A simple 'yes' to go ahead would be good. There is no time to debate, nor await the findings of yet another committee that will drag the issue through treacle. If farmers are to dig once more for victory, then they need to know now to get the seed ordered, scour the agents for fertiliser (if there even is any to be had) and shine up their ploughs.

The prospects of food shortages are very real, given the fact that the usual supply of 30% of the world's exportable grains that are from the Black Sea region are blocked by war and there is no reason to suggest that this will change any time soon. Even the harvest 2022 that should be produced from huge parts of Ukraine's rich soils, looks now to be in danger and not just from blocked ports. The land is riven by strife and may be unable to harvest or plant new crop because of a lack of labour due to the fighting.

In mainland Europe, where there's a heavy reliance on Russian oil and gas, there are already plans to ramp up biomethane production to partly counter this. A blueprint for this was published on Tuesday, stating that renewable biogas was a segment 'still showing great potential' to help make the EU consumption of gas more sustainable, while mitigating external dependency on Russia.

The problem is, this cannot happen overnight but any moves to shorten the process of granting permits for new renewable energy projects, will be welcomed here, as in the EU. As anyone who has gone through the tortuous planning process will testify, all too often agricultural renewable projects are strangled by millions of miles of red tape.

So, it seems that even the slow cogs of decision-making in the EU can make fairly quick decisions that fly in the face of the 'Green Deal' that's been proposed. Why can't this be mirrored in the political corridors of power both in Westminster and Holyrood?