Scottish crop scientists have joined a £5.2m European project to safeguard the future of the soft fruit industry.

The Scottish Crop Research Institute will work with scientists from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany on the ClimaFruit project to reduce the chemical usage and carbon footprint of production systems, and to study the best use of water, nutrients and chemicals.

"To be involved in this North European/North Sea Region consortium is a huge boost for us," said Dr Derek Stewart, who runs SCRI's plant products and food quality programme. The scientists will focus on blackcurrants, raspberries and blackberries during the four-year project and will share the findings with the wider industry.

SCRI's involvement would be good for Scottish soft fruit production, said cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment Richard Lochhead.