Quality Pork Ltd (QPL) will begin exporting 50 tonnes of pork a week to China, after being granted approval to export to the Chinese market from its Brechin site.
The Brechin approval is one of a number of plant approvals across the UK in recent weeks, as China looks to the global marketplace to fill the massive hole in its pork production caused by the African swine fever outbreak.
Following a strict approval process involving Defra and the Scottish Government, Brechin invested in the site, with support from key partner Tulip, to ensure it met the high export standards required. The plant has increased its packaging capabilities, while also enhancing the security and fencing of the site.
George Taylor, site general manager for Quality Pork Processors (QPP) Brechin, said the plant will initially be supplying pork by-products, but is exploring exporting more primal cuts to China in the coming months.
“This opportunity to supply products direct to China will safeguard the future of the Brechin site for the long-term, ensuring we’re competitive with other UK abattoirs, while will also leading to job creation opportunities in the year ahead,” he said.
Andy McGowan, chief executive of Scottish Pig Producers, said: “This is testament to what farmers, QPL, Tulip Ltd and multiple government agencies can achieve when we all work together and was one of the major objectives of the Scottish Pig Industry Strategy launched last year. We look forward to this additional export value created bringing benefits to all in the supply chain.”
Official figures from China show the national pig herd had declined by 32% year-on-year by July, with an estimated 100 million pigs lost already. Rabobank is forecasting that, by the end of the year, China’s pig herd will have halved.
QPL was formed during 2014, through a close collaboration between Scottish Pig Producers, Scotlean and Tulip Ltd, to develop a modern processing facility for the Scottish pig industry. It is owned by farmer suppliers in Scotland and operated on their behalf by a board made up from the three founding organisations.
The site processes approximately 5,500 pigs and 300 sows per week and employs 90 staff, making it one of the largest employers in Angus.