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Efforts to Strengthen Foundation of Scottish Poultry Industry

12 December 2013

UK - A plan to support poultry farmers and protect the future of the industry in Scotland will be produced by Christmas, Farming Minister Richard Lochhead has said.

The Minister discussed a series of steps in a meeting with industry and key stakeholders on Friday afternoon and further discussions will now take place to agree actions by Christmas.

The key work-streams will include:

  • Identifying new market opportunities and capitalising on the growing demand for quality Scottish product;
  • Supporting the development of a pro-active Scotland-wide producer group;
  • Improving the efficiency and competitiveness of all parts of the supply chain, through better collaboration and other measures;
  • Ensuring that the links in the chain are in place to maintain the market reach and geographical spread which the Scottish industry has developed over many years of investment.

A meeting took place on Monday (9 December), organised by NFU Scotland with relevant parties impacted by the recent 2 Sisters Food Group announcement. SAOS, 2 Sisters and 2 Agri will all be represented at Lochter.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Lochhead said: "I am pleased that we are close to agreeing a plan which will provide a stronger foundation for poultry production and processing in Scotland.

"Scotland has first-class poultry producers who operate to high animal welfare standards to deliver quality products to the market and we can't simply afford to lose that. We want to ensure these farmers can stay in business so that, as far as possible, chicken that is consumed in Scotland is produced here.

"The decision by the 2Sisters group to reduce on the short-term production and processing has severe implications for the whole supply chain, including grain producers and hauliers. To protect the future of the industry in Scotland, it is imperative we avoid a similar situation arising where we have one dominant player within the supply chain.

"The bottom line is that there is enough demand in Scotland for chicken to keep these producers in business - consumers want to buy Scottish chicken and a number of retailers are committed to stocking it. So we are committed to finding a solution to the situation our poultry industry is facing.

"This plan will help us to address the immediate challenges before us as well as ensuring a positive future for an industry which is vital to Scotland as a food producing nation."

NFU Scotland’s President, Nigel Miller said: "All those involved in Scottish chicken production have gone through some dark, difficult days and there is still real uncertainty about the future. However, there is now energy developing to support future growth, which can secure investment and maintain the critical mass of production throughout Scotland.

"It is crucial that all stakeholders buy in to this Scottish chicken development plan and move it forward quickly. The new Scottish producer’s group introduces a new force that can move the sector forward ensuring Scottish product reaches into all quality segments of the market. It is now vital all parties recognise it as a key player in securing new opportunities and markets.

"During this start-up phase NFU Scotland will be working in tandem with the new group and developments will take a step forward on Monday 9 December when the Union will bring all the producers and other parties together."

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