THE Scottish red meat sector received a major boost yesterday with a £2 million plus grant to Quality Meat Scotland to help promote the sale of Scotch Beef Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Scotch Lamb PGI in seven countries in Europe.
The money from the European Commission will be used specifically to promote the sale of Scottish meat in established markets in Belgium, France, Italy, and the Netherlands as well recently identified target markets in Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. Almost half of the European cash will also be used to help Scottish sales in England.
The cash, which will require to be match funded by QMS, was the only award coming to the UK from a total European award round amounting to £30m. The QMS award was also one of the largest of the 20 awards.
Commenting on the award, Uel Morton, QMS’s chief executive, said: “This is the third time QMS has been successful in partnering with the European Union to promote Scotland’s quality beef and lamb under the PGI scheme.
“The grant awarded to QMS also includes promotional activities in the domestic market which remains the main focus of the successful application accounting for half of the budget.
“The export priorities and specific countries were identified as a result of an export strategy review conducted by QMS during 2011, with the new strategy announced at the Anuga Food Fair in Cologne in October last year.”
Morton also voiced appreciation of the effort staff at QMS had devoted to the submission of the application. “Our marketing team at QMS committed considerable time and energy to ensuring we submitted a very good application with great attention to detail,” he said.
He also praised the “small administration team” who had worked hard to develop effective systems for managing the complex claims procedures involved in the funding application.
Laurent Vernet, Head of marketing with QMS, added: “This new scheme will start in October 2012. The programme totals just over £4m over three years. It will be co-financed 50:50 by the Scottish red meat industry levy and the European Commission.
“The grant application process started last year and involved a detailed and precise programme of activities that QMS is now committed to delivering over the next three years.
He indicated that the money would be used in five types of activities scheduled for the seven European countries and for England. These included the design, production and distribution of point of sale material along with advertising and events.
Toxic gas risk leads to sever restrictions on its use for bedding
The use of gypsum from recycled plasterboard as animal bedding has all but been banned following advice from Scotland’s environmental regulator, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).
The move follows incidents on farms in Fife and the Borders where cows died in circumstances linked to the production of a deadly gas created by mixing gypsum and cow slurry.
The guidance issued yesterday by Sepa highlighted how the use of recycled gypsum as animal bedding now required a waste management licence.
However, due to the associated risk to animal and human health, it would be unlikely Sepa would grant a licence if gypsum were to be used as animal bedding.
Stephen Field of Sepa said the problem was the disposal of plasterboard, gypsum and gypsum-containing wastes as they could lead to the production of the toxic gas, hydrogen sulphide. “When used in animal bedding, it is likely waste gypsum will produce considerable levels of hydrogen sulphide, due to the damp, non-ventilated conditions.
“In such circumstances, the gas presents a significant risk to animal and human life, as well as the environment, and we would advise against anyone using it for this purpose until there is clear, scientific evidence to demonstrate it does not pose such a risk.”
Jonathan Cowens, from the Scottish Agricultural College, said he welcomed Sepa’s clarification.
“While gypsum may have an important role to play as a soil conditioner it is clearly potentially dangerous if used in animal bedding,” he said.
An NFU Scotland spokesman said they had asked Sepa if producers with gypsum on their farm could use it up and they had been advised that would be in order.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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