Scotland’s biggest pork processing plant is set to almost double in capacity after AP Jess at Brechin was awarded £2.66 million from the Scottish Government’s Food Processing Marketing and Co-Operation (FPMC) Grant Scheme.
Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead announced the award at the Scottish NFU’s AGM at St Andrews. The money will go towards a major upgrade and expansion project that aims to create 20 new full-time jobs and safeguard another 42 posts. It also provides essential investment in the infrastructure supporting Scotland’s pig sector.
The announcement came a little more than a year after the closure of Halls of Broxburn, where most Scottish pork was previously processed. All the pork processed at the Brechin plant will be purchased by Tulip.
“Scottish farms produce around £81 million of pig meat a year for processing, and the closure of Halls of Broxburn was a severe blow to our pig industry,” Mr Lochead said. “This award to AP Jess is a major investment in the infrastructure supporting Scotland’s pig sector, and will go a long way in rebuilding capacity in the supply chain.
“As well as creating and safeguarding jobs in Brechin, the Scottish Government is actively supporting pig farming and the Specially Selected Pork brand, which is renowned for its quality, provenance and high welfare standards.
“A new chapter beckons for our pig industry. I am confident this investment will, in time, increase the size of the Scottish pig herd and the volume of Scottish Selected Pork going into the market place.”
The managing director of AP Jess, Allan Jess, said he was delighted that the Scottish Government had decided to support the investment, which was one of the largest ever in the Scottish pork industry.
“Our relationship with Tulip has developed over the past three years and without its continued support this project could not have taken place,” he added. “This project will make the plant one of the most modern in Europe, and will strengthen the availability of the Scottish Specially Selected Pork brand. We would like to thank the Cabinet Secretary and everyone at the Scottish Government for this grant and their support.”
The managing director of Scottish Pig Producers, Gordon McKen, agreed that the grant was excellent news for the Scottish pig industry, allowing significant expansion at the site.
“Brechin is ideally placed in our main pig producing area and the planned upgrade will give producers confidence to invest, allowing us to grow the industry,” he said. “It’s also extremely important for Scottish consumers as the Scottish SPCA label, displayed on the Specially Selected Pork brand, is in increasing demand. Initially championed by Asda it’s now showing on an ever expanding range of pork products by Aldi, Tesco and some independent butchers.