NFU looks to 2 Sisters for future of Scottish chicken

NFU looks to 2 Sisters for future of Scottish chicken

NFU Scotland is looking to the 2 Sisters Food Group to help define the future of the chicken sector in Scotland.

Scottish chicken growers, impacted by a recent announcement by 2 Sisters about restructuring of its plants at Letham and Coupar Angus, have formed the Scottish Chicken Growers Association (SCGA) to represent the views of those involved.

At a NFU Scotland meeting at Lochter on Monday a defined position was agreed by the SCGA with those unable to attend contacted on the proposal to ensure complete buy-in from members.

Commenting on the proposal, NFU Scotland’s President Nigel Miller said:

“We can appreciate that from a business perspective, 2 Sisters and 2 Agri are under significant pressure and this will be a very difficult period with staff under notice both at Coupar Angus and within 2 Sisters.

“However, the position of independent chicken producers in Scotland is equally uncertain and all face termination of contracts. All these producers committed to significant investment and skills to meet demands for high-welfare, conventional, free range or organic chicken.

“Over the last few days we have been in dialogue with major retailers who have made it clear there is a demand for fresh Scottish chicken and for some specialist free range and organic birds. There is potential to grow the required volumes to as many as 1.4 million birds per week if total Scottish consumption was supplied by home producers.

“The present survival plan from 2 Sisters may see less than half of that production contributed from Scotland’s farms and processing plants. There is clear potential to rebuild volumes in Scotland.

“The SCGA’s proposal recognises the cost challenges to operating in Scotland where wheat prices are, on average, higher and the logistics of moving birds from a peripheral area can add to costs. The group therefore wished to open up dialogue with 2 Sisters which would see supply channelled through the producer group adopted to ensure birds could be delivered to the factory at a fair market price.

“This proposal can allow the chicken sector in Scotland to turn the corner and work in a collaborative way to secure the sector and also maintain the geographic spread of production while delivering a quality produce at a competitive price for processing. We would hope this opportunity for real collaboration will be supported by all stakeholders including 2 Sisters and the Scottish Government.”

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