Scottish pork industry looks to recover from Covid-19 impact
As Scotland slowly eases its lockdown restrictions, Scotland’s pig producers have mapped out their priorities on how to reset, restart and recover from the effects of the pandemic, according to the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS).
The Union says it has recognised that resetting and restarting as it emerges from the Covid-19 crisis will provide significant opportunities for Scottish farmers, crofters and growers. All NFU Scotland’s commodity committees and working groups, including livestock, pigs and poultry, have identified key steps and actions needed.
The NFUS lists the following steps as priorities for those producing pigs:
- Ensure the abattoirs and processing facilities continue to keep open and operating.
- Secure greater commitment from majority of retailers to stock more Scottish pork.
- Increase the range of Scottish pork products available in retailers to secure better carcase balance.
- New impetus to ‘Specially Selected Scottish pork’ brand.
- Availability of grant support to allow new investment in buildings that improve the environment and welfare.
- Build on existing successful self-funded pig health schemes.
Pigs working group chairman, Jamie Wyllie, said: “As we start to emerge from lockdown, it is important that we continue to focus support and activity towards keeping our abattoirs and processing sectors functioning.
“With panic buying now over, and retailers returning to more normal supply lines, we want to work with them on widening their product range to help carcase balance and reduce reliance on imports.
“At the same time, we want to see a greater commitment from all retailers to stock more Scottish pork. We have seen Aldi re-commit to all Scottish pork in recent weeks and we would want to see others do the same. Covid-19 has provided a sharp lesson on the need for locally produced food which retailers must get behind.
“Securing increased sales would be complemented by a new marketing push being given to the Specially Selected Scottish Pork brand.
“In ensuring the Scottish pig sector is fit for the future, we want to get in place longer term grant options that would support investments that deliver environmental and welfare benefits to our businesses and buildings.
“We would also back building on the excellent work the industry has undertaken on pig health schemes by giving consideration to expanding the self-funded disease eradication and control schemes already in place.”