BRC Support for Scottish Pig Sector

by 5m Editor
10 April 2008, at 12:25pm

SCOTLAND - The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has given its backing to strengthen engagement with Scotland's pig industry.

The leading retail industry body has agreed to ask its members if they can join with caterers, processors and wholesalers to look at further discussion on the long-term sustainable future of the pig sector.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead secured the BRC's commitment at a meeting yesterday. This latest move follows a sustained effort by the Cabinet Secretary to support the Scottish pig industry.

Other measures already underway include:

  • A £30,000 strategic review into the pig sector to help develop market resilience
  • A £300,000 project to look at adding value to the fifth quarter in the red meat sector
  • Writing to all major retailers to ask what they are doing to help ensure the long-term sustainability of the pig sector
  • Highlighting the difficulties facing the pig sector at the highest levels in the European Commission

Speaking from a meeting with the pig industry in Oldmeldrum, Mr Lochhead said he was very grateful for this opportunity today to meet with pig sector bodies to discuss how we can work together on addressing the current issues.

"I am highly aware of the difficult situation the industry finds itself in at this time and I am committed to doing all we can to demonstrate our support for this vital sector"
Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Scotland

"I am highly aware of the difficult situation the industry finds itself in at this time and I am committed to doing all we can to demonstrate our support for this vital sector," he added.

He is urging the retail trade to support pig producers in their hour of need and hopes that all retailers will continue to show respect for the high standards of welfare and animal husbandry that are required and ably demonstrated by the Scottish pig sector.

"I have also asked the British Retail Consortium to approach its members to attend a meeting to discuss the sustainability of the pig sector in Scotland. They have agreed to take this proposal forward with its members," said Mr Lochhead.

"Such a meeting, alongside caterers, processors and wholesalers, will help forge valuable links between parties and provide an opportunity for producers to present their situation to retailers."

Additional Support

As further support, Mr Lochhead has written to retailers to ask what they are doing to help support the future of the sector. He said that he is already aware that a number of them are taking positive steps and understand how vitally important it is for them to engage with the whole production chain.

"I have also taken forward a number of other practical measures to assist the industry in the long-term. I have commissioned a £30,000 strategic review into the pig sector in Scotland to help add value and develop market resilience and I have also agreed funding for a major £300,000 project to maximise value of red meat through making best use of the 'fifth quarter' at abattoir level," he added.

"These measures are in addition to work already underway by Quality Meat Scotland to build on public support for the Scottish pig industry by promoting 'Specially Selected Pork'.

Mr Lochhead said that Scottish-only solutions were not easy to find for the problem was Europe-wide. Although the European Commission has introduced export refunds for pork products there were constraints on what assistance could be given due to state aid rules. He said that the Scottish Government had to work within the boundaries of European competition law in dealing with these issues.

5m Editor