Pig Package Has Little to Offer Producers

by 5m Editor
8 August 2008, at 11:16am

SCOTLAND - NFU Scotland has expressed significant reservations regarding the 31 million pig package announced yesterday (Thursday, 7 August) by Scottish Government.

The package is a mix of funding to look at the marketing and labelling of pigmeat and new money for future projects. It has largely ignored the recommendations of the Scottish Pig Sector Task Force. The task force, whose report was also published today, was set up by Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead to consider actions to ensure a long-term sustainable future for the pig sector.

NFU Scotland representatives met with Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead to discuss the pig announcement while visiting Black Isle Show held near Muir of Ord. Speaking after that meeting, NFU Scotland President Jim McLaren said:
“This is a critical time for the Scottish pig industry. Profitability on pig farms remains perilously low, there is a significant financial overhang on Scottish pig producers because of FMD restrictions last year and we have seen the Dutch-based company Vion complete the buyout of Scotland’s largest pig owner and processor Grampian Country Foods.

“On the face of it, any 31 million package for the Scottish pig sector is something we should be welcoming unreservedly. However, the devil is in the detail. The 3200,000 allocated to marketing is money previously included in the Autumn 2007 FMD package, the work on labelling had already been included in the National Food programme and a sizeable chunk amounting to 3700,000 has yet to be allocated. We now need to sit down with the Scottish Government, industry representatives and key players such as Vion to discuss how that 3700,000 should be spent.

“For some in the industry, there may be little appetite to get back round the table to talk about pigs. Those in the task force put in significant time, effort and commitment in producing their report. Their key recommendations revolved around delivering financial support direct to Scotland’s pig producers. It is regrettable that the Scottish Government has found no funding for this.

“There was a real expectation amongst pig farmers that this package would deliver real benefits. With less than 40,000 breeding sows left in Scotland – the lowest number for 25 years - our pig producers needed a clear steer that they were valued and that they have a future. Unfortunately, this announcement is not what they hoped or wanted to hear.“

Further Reading

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5m Editor