The Scottish Government has announce a private storage aid scheme and increased abattoir throughput support for Scottish pig meat processors. The funding will allow a large quantity of pig meat to be minimally processed and then stored and reintroduced to the food chain or exported at a later date.
The SNP’s cabinet secretary for rural affairs and islands Mairi Gougeon has said that enabling processors to store product for a fixed period would reduce product wastage at a challenging time for the industry.
“We have been listening to the sector in Scotland and this storage aid scheme, combined with the additional support to increase throughput will deliver much needed assistance to their businesses,” she said, adding that it is hoped the scheme will be in place by early November.
The announcement was welcomed by Martin Morgan, the executive manager of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW)
He said: “The supply chain currently faces a number of challenges on a variety of fronts so any assistance the Scottish Government can add to what is on offer down south will help provide a much needed degree of stability in Great Britain.”
He warned, however, that the duration of the scheme will need to be carefully managed so it can be closed at the right time and avoid creating further turbulence for producers and processors.
NFU Scotland’s Pig Committee chair, Jamie Wyllie also welcomed the Scottish Government’s recognition of the ‘extreme problems’ facing the pig sector, driven by labour shortages throughout the supply chain, and its desire to support the sector through these challenging times.
He said: Private storage has the potential to address some of the pressure on farm due to the building backlog of pigs on farm.
“While we await detail on how the scheme will operate, we hope that it addresses the difficulties faced by the industry. That needs processor involvement, getting the pigs off farm and through primary processing at abattoirs and then into freezer storage. All of that will still require appropriate staff numbers.
“We continue to call on the Home office to provide a more permanent solution that will give skilled staff from overseas the visas that they need and overcomes some of the language barriers to entry.”