A newly formed farmer co-operative called QPL has bought Brechin abattoir from AP Jess (Brechin). Pig supply co-ops Scottish Pig Producers and Scotlean are both involved in the purchase.
The price has not been disclosed but the new owner has revealed plans to double slaughter capacity to 8,000 pigs a week by the end of next summer. The deal means that Scottish pig producers will control their own slaughter facilities for the first time.
The chairman of Scottish Pig Producers, and a director of QPL, Patrick Stephen said buying the Brechin facility meant Scottish pigs from Scottish farmers culd be processed in Scotland, which wss great news for the whole of the Scottish farming industry.
“We plan to invest in upgrading the current site by adding a new slaughter line, chilling and lorry-wash facilities, which will increase the capacity of the operation, and in turn allow us to meet the growing demand for quality Scottish pork here in the UK as well as the export market,” he added.
“The Scottish government has been very supportive of this initiative and I’m confident that by working closely with Quality Meat Scotland, Scottish Pig Producers, Scotlean and Tulip we can help secure the future of the Scottish pig industry.”
Mr Stephen added that the move should give producers a lot of confidence to invest in their own facilities.
“Low grain prices are helping margins in the short term, and all things considered Scotland is a great place to produce pigs and this move should give some long-term stability to the sector,” he said.
Scotland’s Farm Minister Richard Lochhead welcome the announcement, saying it was good for the future of the plant, and the whole Scottish pig industry.
“I’m very pleased that upgrading work on the plant will now get underway in earnest, supported with the £2.7million grant I announced earlier this year,” he said. “This major investment in the infrastructure supporting Scotland’s pig sector will rebuild capacity in the supply chain and, in time, increase the size of the Scottish pig herd and volume of Scottish Selected Pork going into the market place.”