West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie welcomed Environment Secretary Michael Gove to Aberdeenshire for meetings with local business, farming and fishing leaders.
The Secretary of State discussed the future of the food and drink sector in the region with Opportunity North East (ONE) Director Peter Cook.
ONE, the business led body spearheaded by oil services tycoon Sir Ian Wood, is aiming to grow industries across the region to diversify in the long-term from a reliance on oil and gas.
Representatives of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation also met with Mr Gove in the old mart at the Alford Heritage Centre.
Speaking after the visit, Mr Bowie said: “It was great to have the Secretary of State up in the north-east to hear first-hand about the push to grow our food and drink sector.
“Thanks to the fantastic local produce here in the north-east, the food and drink sector is already a major contributor to the local and national economy.
“In fact, right here in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, we have fantastic local producers of gin and beer like Esker Spirits and the Deeside Brewery.
“However, Mr Gove recognised there is still huge potential for the North-east to do even better.”
During the visit, Mr Gove also met Dorothy Anderson, who runs the museum.
The Secretary of State visited some of the exhibitions, including the history of the Aberdeen Angus breed which originated in the Alford area.
The heritage centre features an exhibition of past country life with various topical rooms featuring school life, the old country kitchen, village store and shoe repair store.
There is also a large collection of old farm equipment, tractors and general vintage items.
Mr Bowie added: “Mr Gove really enjoyed the visit to the heritage centre, particularly given his family roots in the North-east.
“It is a great facility and I would recommended it highly to anyone who has not visited.”