SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Alasdair Morgan welcomed the announcement that the Scottish Countryside Alliance intends, once more, to hold awards which will recognise and celebrate the unique "Scottishness" of our food and contribution that rural businesses make to our communities.

The competition has a simple aim: to reward Scotland's rural businesses and those who operate and run them. There are 5 categories; • Best Local Food Award • Best Village Shop/Post Office Award • Rural Enterprise Award • Best Traditional Business Award • Rural Hero Nominations will close on 19th October 2009, after which short-listing and judging will take place. All those short-listed will be invited to a reception in the Scottish Parliament in December, at which point the winners will be announced. The Scottish winners will then progress to the UK wide competition.

Mr Morgan said: "The South of Scotland has not featured in these awards to any great extent so far, with the honourable exception of Scottish Organic Lamb from the Glenkens, which was a finalist last year.

"I want to see lots of nominations and I can think of a number of companies and individuals who would be ideal nominees for these awards: the South of Scotland is an overwhelmingly rural area with a huge amount to offer.

"It is important that all nominations for the awards are with the Scottish Countryside Alliance by the 19th October 2009. The best way to make your nominations in is to visit the Scottish Countryside Alliance's website at Forms are also available by calling the Scottish Countryside Alliance on 0131 335 0200.

"All the very best to those who are nominated."