After a difficult start to 2016 for pig producers in Scotland, a sustained recovery in prices looks to be underway, says the chief executive of Scottish Pig Producers, Andy McGowan.
“Demand is steadily growing for product from the new Quality Pork Ltd. (QPL) abattoir at Brechin, Angus, that was designed to meet the needs of the modern volume customer,” he told Pig World, adding that the new branding for the pigmeat business run by Robertsons of Ardrossan, Ayrshire, had also attracted a lot of attention, particularly with its new sausage and bacon plant having recently opened in Irvine.
“Dunbia is also reporting extra pork volumes going through its butchery and retail packing plant in Ayr.”
In addition to these individual business advances in Scotland, the recent promotional campaign for Specially Selected Pork, run by Quality Meat Scotland, has been applauded by the industry.
“The campaign successfully highlighted the versatility of pork as a meal ingredient,” said Mr McGowan, “backed by a radio advert that was certainly memorable.”
While adding that, in keeping with the rest of the farming industry, the longer-term implications for the pig sector of Brexit remained “hard to predict” at present, Mr McGowan said that the immediate priority for the domestic pig industry was to increase its share of the Scottish market, with the weakness of sterling helping to “improve our competitiveness” against European imports.
“Combined with tighter pig numbers going forward, it all points towards a brighter future for the Scottish pig industry,” he said.
Scottish Pig Producers is a co-operative that markets pigs for 110 dedicated farmer members, providing supply chain links to Scotland and Northern Ireland’s pig processors and UK retailers. Originally established in 1979, the group was instrumental in the development of Quality Pork Ltd., the collaborative organisation which worked with Scotlean and Tulip to redevelop the Brechin abattoir into a state-of-the-art processing facility to supply Specially Selected Pork to consumers across Scotland and beyond.