Scottish pig sector output in 2014 is estimated to have been worth £94 million, up from £79 million in 2013, according to figures released today by the Scottish Government.
Described by the government as a 2014 pig sector total which “regained some of the value lost in recent years”, the pig figures are part of an overall 2013/2014 farm income picture which NFU Scotland (NFUS) president, Nigel Miller said was “disappointing”.
His assessment followed the publication of “total income from farming estimates for Scotland 2012-2014″ which showed incomes increased by 29% in 2013, compared to the previous year, but fell by 18% in 2014. As such, agriculture was worth £823 million to the Scottish economy in 2013, up from £630 million in 2012, but fell back to about £688 million in 2014.
“The livestock sector in total saw a small increase in value, although there was a small decline in the largest sector, the beef industry, with falling prices and slaughter numbers,” said the government. “However, it was a better year for sheep farmers, with increased prices and numbers resulting in a 15 per cent increase in output to £203 million. The pig industry also regained some of the value lost in recent years, while poultry income was down £18 million to £100 million.”
Citing brutal extremes in volatility that had swept through the cropping sector and, in recent months, left both milk and potato producers in a critical place, Mr Miller said that the accounting periods used by the government survey failed to “reflect the real world as it is today”.
“The downturn in world markets since July 2014 has seen commodity prices plunge and strip out any margins being made at that time,” he said. “Key sectors of Scottish agriculture are currently losing money heavily and that fragility is exacerbated by a fracture in trade with Russia and stalling Chinese markets.
“Europe has a role to manage the market in the face of such trade sanctions. The use of realistic intervention buying and export guarantees in now urgent if producers are not to be forced out of farming.
“Retailers also have a role in ensuring that the primary producers’ share of the shelf price sustains quality home production for the long term.”