2 Sisters and 2 Agri Meet with Union and Chicken Producers13 December 2013
UK - NFU Scotland and the newly-created Scottish Chicken Growers Association (SCGA) met with 2 Agri and 2 Sisters on Wednesday (11 December) to discuss how to secure the future of the poultry industry in Scotland.
During the meeting, Managing Directors of 2 Sisters and 2 Agriculture, Steve Ellis and Rob Rafferty, outlined the challenges in turning round Scottish operations which are in a serious loss-making situation.
It was identified that a real positive would be developing a Scottish brand that could be sold to a range of retailers and would simplify a complex product range.
"Scottish independent growers are an elite group that have invested heavily in high quality welfare systems."
Nigel Miller, NFU Scotland President
Other points made included developing the cutting capacity in Scotland which could also open doors to higher volumes; also the key issue of the cost base in Scotland - logistics, distances and feed costs are all challenges.
Work to secure retailer contracts continues with other markets also being investigated. However a lower production profile looks likely in the short term. This ongoing work with retailers, potential new customers and product offers an opportunity to grow the business in the medium term.
Although 2 Agriculture is developing its own restructuring package it has agreed a further meeting next week with the new SCGA to look at a collaborative approach to drive cost out of the supply chain. The group will bring forward proposals for future supply.
Further discussions are to take place between NFU Scotland and owner of 2 Sisters, Ranjit Singh.
NFU Scotland’s president Nigel Miller said: "There is great potential to source more chicken from Scotland and to allow this to happen we will be working with the Scottish Government to get the poultry strategy outlined before Christmas.
"With the producer group next meeting with 2 Agriculture and 2 Sisters early next week, representatives from the Union will also be in attendance, and so will the Scottish Government to help where we can to move discussions forward and to keep pressure on the process to ensure the poultry industry has a future in Scotland.
"Scottish independent growers are an elite group that have invested heavily in high quality welfare systems. That production base linked to the real expertise within the Scottish Chicken Growers Association must mean adopting a collaborative approach that can safeguard production and will deliver for the processor and customers all over Scotland."
A spokesman for 2 Sisters and 2 Agriculture commented: "We welcomed the opportunity to be at this meeting which we believe all parties found extremely productive. It was an open and frank discussion about the impact of our restructuring proposals, and it was excellent to hear all views around the table.
"We are hopeful we can help build a really strong, flourishing future for the Scottish poultry industry. The plans we discussed were around ways we can reduce cost from the supply chain, the opportunity for investment of a cutting facility, and a new brand for Scottish chicken were extremely exciting.
"We look forward to working with all partners in the future to help make this happen."
TheMeatSite News Desk